F8 2015: Facebook Messenger will soon let you chat with stores, 360-degree videos and more

Facebook’s Messenger won’t just be for chatting with family and friends in the near future. The social network has unveiled a business feature for Messenger that lets you talk to a store about your orders. The option not only spares you from a flurry of email for receipts and shipping, but gives you an easy way to ask questions — if you want to change your order or add something new, you just open up the existing conversation. In theory, you don’t have to go through the hassles of calling or emailing customer service to solve a simple problem. The business effort will only start out with a handful of partners that includes Everlane, Zendesk and Zulily, but a sign-up program suggests that you’ll see Messenger used at more online shops before long.

In an effort to bring even more content to Oculus, Facebook has announced at its developer conference that it plans to bring spherical video content to its VR headset. There really isn’t a whole lot more information aside from that — how will people load these 360-degree videos? — but it’s an important step forward in enhancing the nascent VR platform. Additionally, Facebook also announced that it’ll begin to support these 360-degree videos embedded right in the News Feed, so you won’t need a headset to check them out if you don’t mind not having that whole VR thing.

In the past few months, Facebook has really ramped up the Messenger experience — you can add your location, apply stickers on photos and even use it for payments. Now, Facebook will let you customize your messages even further. That’s because Facebook has evolved Messenger into its own platform, which essentially means you can now integrate third-party apps into Messenger. Want to add GIFs from Giphy? Simply install the add-on, find the GIF you want and away you go. You’ll find many of these apps — there are apparently already 40 on board — in the compose window. And if a friend sends an image or video from one of these third-party apps and you don’t already have them installed, you’ll see an “Install” link on them so you can download them right then and there.

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