Message bots are pretty awesome. The programs integrated within chat applications that enable you to get access to information and services — and sometimes relieve your boredom too! — are quickly gaining in popularity as one messenger application after another are coming up woth their own native bots — Hike’s Natasha for example.
Facebook, with its massive number of users, has been one of the early adapters of the technology. However, it is taking the game a big step further by providing a select group of developers access to a Chat SDK that will let them build their own interactive bots for the Messenger service, reports TechCrunch.
The company is keeping pretty hush hush on the topic, with only a select group of developers granted access to the documentation in form of pdfs.
From the information we have been able to dig up, the SDK looks to be pretty exhaustive in the capabilities of the bots that can be created through it. Developers will be able to give chat bots the power to automatically respond to user messages with information, images, location services, product prices, Buy buttons and even deploy the Messenger’s built-in payments systems to complete transactions.
This does lead one to question the business value of the decision. After all, too many independent bots mean an almost certain decline in the popularity of Facebook’s own AI. However, a few minutes deep thought is enough to make the internet giants probable reasoning, very clear.
Consider this, as the number of bots inside Facebook’s ecosystem grows, users will find the messenger becoming ever more useful. After all, a place where you chat, get info, shop……what else could you possibly ask for?? So more and more users get hooked increasing the likelihood of the company earning revenue.
The concept of business over message was pioneered by some of Asia’s most popular applications including China’s WeChat. This way, users looking to get either information or even perform transactions with a company can simply message the official account and be greeted and guided by a chat bot. Not only does this save them the trouble of installing — and uninstalling — the relevant apps, but builds a kind of virtual mall they can hang around.
WeChat for example, allows you to use the native payment option to order a taxi, buy movie tickets, pay bills, and more.
Facebook has already become a popular business destination. The launch of Businesses on Messenger platform allowed companies the option of offering real-time customer service through chat. Companies are already able to cater to stuff like shipping address changes, order confirmations etc. over the chats rather than by email or call. Very Handy!
And dont even get us started on the Uber integration launched just last month that has simplified ordering a cab from the company tenfold. Simply tap an address and select Uber, and you will be chatting with the car service where a panel allows you to choose your pickup point, destination, and payment option. The same conversation also keeps you updated on the status of your ride in real time!
Well, if the company’s Uber indication is any hint at all, Facebook’s latest move may just see it perform another coup. With the massive, massive potential available right here on the messenger, the habit of accessing the web — outside Facebook — to avail services may just become scarce as businesses and consumers alike, make use of this brand new way to give and receive services.