Facebook has hired former Snapdeal chief product officer Anand Chandrasekaran for a global leadership role to develop its Messenger application, reports the Wall Street Journal. It added that it was not clear whether Chandrashekaran would be operating out of Menlo Park, California or India.
Chandrasekaran joined Snapdeal as the CPO in June 2015 and quit the company in May this year. Prior to that, he was the product chief at Bharti Airtel for a year. He also served as director of search at Yahoo! Chandrasekaran joined Yahoo in 2011 as senior director for mobile products and worked on mobile search and Yahoo Answers. He then became senior director for search in 2012 and focused on local listings, content partnerships and maps.
Prior to Yahoo, Chandrasekaran was venture advisor at Storm Ventures and Director of product management at Openwave. He had also co-founded Aeroprise Inc. a company that deployed mobility solution for IT Service Management.
Messenger crosses one billion users
Chandrashekaran’s appointment takes importance as Facebook’s Messenger crossed 1 billion active users in July. It now joins the 1 billion club, which earlier included Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp, and Google owned YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps.
In contrast, it’s rivals include TenCent’s WeChat with more than 700 million users and Japan’s LINE messenger.
Emphasis on bot ecosystem
Facebook had opened its Messenger Send/Receive API that supports bot development on its chat platform to all developers, during its F8 conference in April. The company had launched the API unannounced to let some developers build bots in Messenger for shopping, booking travel etc. The company said it will allow developers to create apps for Facebook’s Messenger. For a start it had launched around 40 new apps, for photos, videos, audio clips and GIFs among others during F8. The platform was made available to all developers on iOS and Android, in March.
Earlier this month, Facebook said that businesses on Messenger can now accept payments without sending users to an external website. Note that this is live only in the United States and is expected to roll out the capability more broadly by the end of the year.