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Facebook Messenger now lets you shop from anywhere in the world

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Facebook is making it easier for businesses to talk to their online customers using its Messenger platform.

The online giant has revealed a major upgrade to its chat plugin tool that will allow companies to talk to customers through their own website using Messenger - even if the user is not on Facebook.

Facebook originally launched an initial version of its chat tool back in November 2017, but until now, the service required the user to be logged into the social network to use.

Messenger shopping

Facebook says that the free service will help businesses reach more customers than ever, especially as companies large and small look to move into the ecommerce space during the global lockdown.

"Due to COVID, businesses everywhere have needed to adapt, and for many, that means increasing their online presence," Jenny Li, Product Manager, Messenger wrote in a blog post announcing the upgrade.

"As a result, people are contacting businesses online more than ever. Chat Plugin is an easy solution for businesses to talk to potential customers by bringing the Messenger experience directly on to their website. With minimal effort, businesses are able to kick off conversations, bring a personal touch to the online shopping experience, and build lasting relationships with customers."

The company says that developers will be able to quickly and easily build the chat plugin into their websites, adding the upgraded tool with "just a few clicks" in its Facebook Page settings menu.

The news is the latest in a series of Messenger updates as Facebook looks to distinguish the service from competitors. Reports last month suggest that Facebook may soon allow users of WhatsApp and Messenger to chat directly with one another, from within their respective apps.


05 Aug 2020



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    With Apple's March event now confirmed and rumored to feature a new iPhone SE 3, a new iPad Air, and possibly a new M1 Mac, fans are already trying to find clues in the invite that was sent out on Tuesday, March 2.

    This is nothing new. For years, Apple has sent out invites that have suggested what the events may show off. Last year hinted towards 'Hyperspeed', which turned out to be the new M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro laptops.

    Going way back to 2012, when invites were sent out for the iPhone 5 event, a shadow of a number 5 was as subtle as a sledgehammer that a new iPhone was on its way.

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    But since the March invite was sent out, many are wondering why Apple chose the word 'Peek' instead of 'Peak' in the invite when it alluded to 'Peek performance'.

    While it's extremely unlikely that it's a typo for a company like Apple, the word gives its customers an idea as to what March 8 could entail.

    Is there a difference in Peak and Peek with Apple?

    The Oxford Dictionary defines 'Peak' as:

    Reach the highest point, either of a specified value or at a specified time.

    In other words, it's the absolute highest that something could reach, either in how fast a machine can go, like an M1 chip from Apple, or how a 5G chip could reach new highs for an iPhone SE model, as that's a line that has yet to see the benefits of 5G.

    But it's when you look at 'Peek' in the Dictionary that things become interesting:

    To look or glance quickly or furtively, especially through a small opening or from a concealed location; peep; peer.

    To me, this signals that we're going to see something else that goes beyond the rumors, and reminds me of a time back in 2006, when Steven Jobs was on stage.

    We've been here before

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    Apple's co-founder was on stage in 2006, showcasing games for the iPod Video, a new iPod nano line, and iTunes offering movies as well as TV shows.

    But there was One More Thing, an aspect that Jobs was known to do from time to time at events. These would showcase an update to an existing product, or something completely out of the blue. This time, it was a sneak peek at the Apple TV, first called iTV.

    Jobs would demo the media box in his own way that's become iconic now, communicating the benefits to everyone, but making it clear that it was a preview of what was to come.

    It was rare that this happened, as Apple likes to announce products that are almost ready to go, even in 2006. But the company had stated since that event that Apple TV was a hobby, it was a testing ground.

    In 2022, we're about to see another sneak peek, which makes me suspect we're going to see a new Mac, possibly a Mac Pro. This may be a product that's going to launch towards the end of the year with an Apple Silicon chip that's not quite ready for now.

    Peak and peek can mean the same for Apple - it could offer a sneak peek of its highest-performing Mac, and the peak of the M1 chip, but it's simply not ready to be sold for now.

    I've enjoyed using my M1 Pro MacBook Pro since October, but there's some Apple users I know of who want a Mac that's not constrained by being on a battery - they want pure power with no compromise. There are plenty of wallets ready to splurge on a Mac with Apple Silicon that's powered only by a cable, not a battery.

    However, despite the references to 'peek', I don't see a augmented reality headset appearing next week, as some people are hoping for, mainly due to the fact that a new category for Apple doesn't fit a March event. A new category needs its own space, and for something for its developers to take in and see how it fits for their apps, which is why I believe that there's more chance of it appearing at WWDC this year.

    We don't have long to wait for this, but if you're hoping to see a headset, this year's WWDC, once it's official, could be your best bet to see the Apple wearable.

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