Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, and Facebook is frequently improving it and adding new features. Today Facebook revealed another major new addition to Messenger: bots.
The launch of the Messenger Platform (Beta) will allow the creation of bots on Facebook Messenger, which can respond to your requests and do things like show you news stories, order flowers, show weather info, and more. One example of a company that’s building a Messenger bot is CNN, whose bot you can say “Top stories” to to receive a list of CNN’s top stories of the day. You can then scroll through previews of those stories and decide to read the whole story, get a summary, or ask CNN something else.
Another example of a Messenger bot is the one from 1-800-Flowers.com. With this flowers bot, you can do something like say “View Arrangements” and scroll through the different flower arrangements that are available. From there, you can select which arrangement you want to send, who you want to send it to, and what you want the note to say. You can use this bot to send flowers without having to call a person or navigate a website.
It’s also worth noting that Facebook will make it possible to mute and block communications that you don’t want to receive, and FB is also maintaining strict policies for developers and businesses on the platform.
If you’d like to try Facebook Messenger bots for yourself, you can do so right now. You can use the service’s search bar to look for a bot to talk to, and there is a special “Bots and Businesses” section in the results. An easy bot to try is for Hi Poncho, which can tell you the weather of a location that you specify.
Bots look like they could be a big deal for Messenger. Lots of people do most, if not all, of their communicating through text-based messaging, and bots in Messenger can help you do things like read the news and order flowers without leaving the Messenger app. What will make make a big impact on how bots are used by the public is how well they function. Developers will need to work hard to ensure that their bots’ interaction with consumers offer as smooth an experience as possible.
What do you think of bots? Are you interested in doing things like ordering goods and reading news through a messaging app’s bot?