Facebook Messenger Bots
This is the next biggest thing in the the Silicon Valley!
You may have come across bots before, even if you haven’t been conscious of them. ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ is one of the easiest ways to explain bots to a child, or anyone for that matter. Bots are automated scripts online that perform repetitive simple tasks at a much faster rate than a human would.
The most common and well-known bots are those that are used in web indexing and listing the millions of websites on Bing, Google, Yahoo and other major search engines. Because humans cannot file and analyze these sizes of information and data, bots are used as they are more efficient and incredibly fast at it.
The recent swell of interest in this topic has led to the announcement at Facebook F8 developer for the creation of bots inside the Facebook messenger. Mark Zuckerberg proved and validated that a bot would allow people to do an unlimited amount of tasks using natural conversation language, for example, Placing an order at a fast food restaurant, News update from a CNN bot on leading headlines giving a more personalized feel etc.
So can it change the Mobile App Landscape? According to Zuckerberg, an e-commerce future can be created where bots from various brands interact with customers via the Facebook Messenger platform.
The Chat Bots And Widgets
Mark Zuckerberg was proud to announce that the tools are to be used by developers to create Chat Widgets for the Web and Chat Bots for Messenger. With the announcement of bots by Microsoft and bot stores by Telegram and Kik, the Facebook messenger could not have been more accurate in timing.
The Main Focus of the Messenger is to provide a channel for customers to connect with businesses. The combination of human intervention with AI gives Messenger the ability to be a direct replacement for 1-800 numbers. This means that bots could be seen and used in diverse fields such as commerce, customer service and even media.
“It is believed that the Messenger bots announced at F8 come with the promise of a much wider scope of the applicability of Messenger. We will be able to manage our calendars, make reservations and even order flowers, check the weather and contact an Uber to work or home. This has captured the attention of many because of the numbers Facebook Messenger has”.
Messaging Applications have more users currently than ever, with Facebook Messenger leading at an astounding 800 million active users MONTHLY! This number exceeds that of the total number of iPhones ever sold and 100 times more than iPhone owners. When bot stores were revealed, they changed the conversational user interface, the interaction of billions of users and the general marking of a new era for the messaging platform.
Partners Of Bots
One of the Messenger’s original partners was Expedia, despite the fact that the bot didn’t appear functional. Partners with the Messenger bots services are many, however, only few can be used. What most people might not know is that most of us are experiencing ‘App Fatigue’! This is a state when people download an average of Zero Apps per month, and merely a handful that are downloaded are social networks like Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook.
WeChat-status is what Facebook messenger might eventually achieve! With shopping and travel being the leading and most compelling kinds of bots, messenger bots will take over the market eventually leading to its publicity.
Other partners include KLM, the first Airline partner of Messenger. This is particularly interesting for an often traveler as it gives passengers abilities to contact customer support, receive flight updates, view boarding passes and much more.
Thanks to yet another partnership with Everlane & Louis Vuitton. These Premium Retailers have been using Messenger for their customer support, share online order information & help shoppers find products. All this is through the Messenger platform! However, even if the platform works perfectly it would take months or even years before people can identify its usefulness.
The Current Landscape
Messaging is an interaction that has to lend itself to a perfect blend of human-machine systems. By making texts the output and input basis of communication, voice analysis complexities are avoided, thus allowing machines to comprehend. This provides an opportunity for responses dependent on machine language, some sent by humans others by algorithms, an agent-software system.
What this system implies is that user sent messages will be well understood and system sent messages on numerous occasions are sensible to the user. In summary, the aim is for a software with communication skills as good as a human, equipped with data access and tools to a machine. A super-machine, or super-human.
Facebook has let Messenger bots tap into the AI tech to allow bots to communicate and understand the natural language, remember information about you and even hold a conversation with you like a human would. However, messenger bots are still too young right now, and some might not even consider them a fad at this point. Nonetheless, these AI advancements might usher to these bots into the mainstream.
As of now, many questions still remain unanswered! Will people be needing the services of travel agents, especially those who have never used one before? How will this system affect our personal lives with business services? Will communication between users and companies be affected? Will platforms such as WhatsApp open up to developers too? How easy will it be to pay the bill? The list is virtually endless.
What we need to understand is “there is an entire App Store Ecosystem yet to be built, where you can easily and hastily interact with all sorts of users. So until then, the bot landscape currently feels like mobile applications in 2008 or worse, the web in the 90s. On the other hand, judging from the F8 in April, the rat race to gain WeChat-status of the west has just begun, and my money is on Facebook Messenger”.