This is a remarkable move.
First, it confirms the assumption that the company’s focus on its news feed-centric core product is the past. Second, and this is the really astonishing part, Facebook is completely cannibalizing its core product facebook.com. Because every user who just wants to write or read some messages can now head to messenger.com, avoiding a major source of procrastination.
Companies who are willing to cannibalize their own products with something new are rare. Apple did it a couple of times. Steve Jobs famously said: “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will”.
With Messenger for Web Browsers, Mark Zuckerberg follows that philosophy. Messenger is said to have more than 500 million active users on smartphones. Millions of users who could not really let go of the time sink called news feed when messaging through Facebook from their desktop computers and notebooks will be very thankful, I am sure. Bosses at companies have a reason to celebrate, too.
For the core product facebook.com and the news feed, this almost certainly will mean a decrease in user activity. But for a product that is roughly a decade old, this is totally ok.