API.ai, a conversational UX platform was acquired by Google in September this year. The chatbot platform has since continued to operate independently and is today introducing some significant and welcoming changes to the same.
In its first public statement, the company declares elimination of the number of queries for free plans for both public as well as private agents, however, bandwidth limits/charges may apply. Adding to the statement, API.ai now also approves rich messaging — meaning usage of photos and videos would now be possible with the bots made using API.ai. The official blog post for the update release states,
Starting today, API.AI supports Rich Messaging – cards, images, quick replies – on popular platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and Telegram. This new feature will enhance the quality of your bot’s dialogue, keeping your audience engaged and entertained.
Custom Payload to add payments, confirmations, receipts, videos and other types of rich content supported by the messaging platform would also be accessible as a Bot response.
These new add-ons introduced by Google-owned API.ai will lead to a merrier boting environment as more than 60k developers are users, who’ve created chatbots and voice-enabled assistants on the platform. Scott Huffman, lead engineer of Google Assistant commented at a presentation in October,
Thousands of expert and novice developers have already built conversational interactions with API.ai, and these can become conversational actions with the Google Assistant. We’ll support other conversation building tools as well.
Major platforms like Facebook Messenger, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are users of API.ai and hence new features of rich messaging and endless queries would lead to the creation of more such platforms and further enhance user friendliness.
However, the hints of such actions were present at the debut Pixel smartphones, Daydream VR headset, and Google Home where the company did mention the multiplicity of users of API.ai. Henceforth in November 2016, the company has launched the new features and is all set to provide an enhanced bot building experience to its users.