Facebook F8: Messenger Doubles Down on Bots After Slow Start


A bot can be added to the group, allowing for the conversation and experience to be shared on social media. Which is why Marcus explains the strategy as turning a service that people now treat as a digital White Pages into the equivalent of the Yellow Pages, too.

"Through this commerce-enabled bot we are able to leverage a new engagement channel with our guests", said David Gordon, president of The Cheesecake Factory.

"We think that you should just be able to message a business in the same way that you message a friend", he told a packed room of developers. You can start a chat with a jeans company and ask about a refund or new styles.

All of these efforts tie into something the company calls the Messenger Platform, which is essentially a way for third-party businesses to build automated chat bots that allow them to interact with the chat app's 1.2 billion monthly active users in an automated fashion. Couple that with the predictive features from M for dynamic suggestions and you might find yourself being recommended bots in conversations with friends fairly frequently, and for good reason.

Elsewhere, Messenger is getting a bit of an AI refresh. Facebook wants it to "offer people more ways to do more" and is demonstrating this through a US-only tie-in with delivery.com that will allow group chat ordering and payment.

"Well, I think it all depends on our incredible 100,000 developer community we have, and what they're going to build", Marcus added.

The new product was unveiled during Facebook's prestigious F8 Developer Conference in San Jose.

As if on cue, Facebook's partners announced new bots that take advantage of the new Messenger's features.

It will now be easier for businesses to communicate with customers who contact them through Messenger.

So this year at F8, Messenger is getting Smart Replies, a bot-based technology created to let a business have common questions be automatically answered via Messenger-such as "What time are you open until today?"-so its proprietors can focus on responding to less typical ones". For example, Apple Music offers its paid subscription service on Android as well and now the new sharing feature will be coming to Facebook's Messenger.

Individual communications between businesses and customers on the platform reached 2 billion in the past year, and the number of business bots tripled from 11,000 in July 2016 to 30,000 by September 2016. So lets dive in to see some more details on the subject.

Facebook has released a whole lot of information from their latest F8 developer conference, and it looks like their drive to turn Messenger into its own platform for development is continuing full steam ahead.