Facebook has introduced usernames, links and codes to Messenger, as new ways of adding contacts.
Codes are visual QR-style markers which can be scanned – either in person, from the user's phone screen, or by sharing the code on online – in order to link to their Messenger account.
Meanwhile, usernames give each account a unique identifier – beyond their real name, which can often lead to sifting through hundreds of 'John Smith's to find the right one – for connecting, and links can be used to directly open a thread with the relevant person or business. In both cases, the two users don't need to or share phone numbers or even be friends on Facebook to communicate, marking Messenger out as more of a separate entity from the main Facebook app.
"Since traditional phone books are almost obsolete, we're making it easier for you to find the people (and businesses) that matter to you and be able to start conversations immediately with the launch of a simple set of tools that are built for the modern world," reads the Facebook post announcing the development.
That business link is key, given Facebook's reported plans to monetise Messenger, which will rely on brand communications initiated by the user. Codes should make it easier to link real-world marketing materials with brands' presence on Messenger, and usernames and links should make them easier to find without having to go via the main Facebook app or site.
These launches are just the latest push in this direction. Earlier this week, Messenger started suggesting businesses when users open a new message, and it seems likely we'll see more developments at the F8 developer conference next week.