Adding a novel dimension to its messaging strategy, Facebook just debuted Kit: a messaging app exclusively for Apple Watch owners.
Created by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) unit, Kit was designed with simplicity in mind.
With a single tap, users can share a voice message, an emoji, or their physical location.
Kit also includes a straightforward speech-to-text feature.
It is not entirely clear why Facebook felt to need to design a new app for Apple Watch owners, particularly when Messenger already functions perfectly well on the gadget.
Yet, in contrast to Messenger’s more general functionality, Kit might be intended for more intimate exchanges between close friends and family.
For its part, Apple always intended for its watches to support such features. Earlier on, one of its most highly promoted tools let users send their heartbeats to loved ones.
By any measure, Kit is a niche product.
Last year, Apple shipped approximately 30 million watches, according to an estimate from Strategy Analytics. That might have been more than all the units sold by every Swiss watchmaker, combined, but it’s a small fraction of Facebook’s billions of users around the world.
Messenger alone boasts approximately 1.3 billion monthly active users, according to Statistica.
If successful, Kit will likely represent just one piece of Facebook’s ambitious plan to reposition itself as a direct messaging Goliath.
Threatening that effort, the Federal Trade Commission was reportedly considering antitrust action against Facebook to block the planned integration of its messaging apps, late last year.
In order to further assess the implications of such integration, the FTC considered seeking a preliminary injunction against Facebook, sources told The Wall Street Journal in December.
Along with privacy concerns, sources told WSJ that regulators feared a more interconnected Facebook would make an eventual breakup of the tech titan nearly impossible.