Facebook’s F8 conference was held yesterday and it was livestreamed to a wider audience globally. Traditionally, the F8 is used by Facebook to connect with developers and inform them of the latest update on their platforms.
Last year’s F8 was centered on Messenger and it was not different from this year. They officially launched Bots on Messenger which was long rumoured before thanks to a leaked SDK. Facebook is positioning Messenger to be used by Businesses and customers by announcing new tools like Messenger Codes and usernames and now Bots will further improve the experience.
What is Facebook’s vision with bots? Well according to their blog, Bots will provide you with automated content like traffic updates, weather, receipts, shipping notifications and the likes. Facebook still wants the over 900 million people who use Messenger to control their interactions with bots and that is why you can mute or block communication they don’t like. Other platforms with bots like Telegram Messenger also allow people to block bots too so Facebook is only playing catchup now.
Since the Bot Platform was officially launched yesterday, the number of bots available for Messenger is currently very limited. During the F8 conference, a number of them were demoed like the CNN one and 1-800 Flowers. According to this Google Docs document, these are some of the bots that you can use on Messenger:
- Wall Street Journal
- Sequel Stories
- HP Print Bot
- Health Tap
In order to interact with the bot, you only need to tap on the hyperlinks above. When you click on lets say on the CNN link, it will open the CNN bot on Messenger where now you can interact with it. It is just like interacting with the Telegram bots where you type in a request like “news” and it will populate the chat timeline with news.
The bot age is finally here and Messenger will be at the forefront of this and the competition between chatting platforms will be an interesting space to watch.