Facebook Hopes to Kill Text Messaging With New IM Service

Facebook (FB) announced is revamping its mobile messenger app to let non-Facebook users send and receive messages, even if they don't own a smart phone or even an email account. The move hopes to effectively kill traditional SMS and duplicate the social network's user base by another billion, says CNET

"It's a really great way to get a bunch of people," said Sam Lessin, a director of product for Facebook, said referring to the new feature — which is being developed first for Android phones, and rolling out initially in India, Indonesia, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, and South Africa.

The move follows Facebook's "Facebook for Every Phone" app from last year, an app that makes any flip phone behave like a smart one. Its adoption spread like wildfire among an estimated 750 million people who downloaded it and gained access to the social network for the first time across Latin America, Asia and Africa. 

Of course, Facebook hopes to lure billions of potential users worldwide while they kill text messaging. The idea is to hook people into the new — and potentially free — SMS-like service to eventually have them register as regular Facebook uses, and start mining their data and private information just like they do with everybody else.