facebook, messenger

Facebook’s F8 conference is turning out to be home to some of the most exciting announcements ever. The company has just announced a brand new suite of tools under the Messenger 2.0 branding. The tools promise to extend and enhance your conversations far beyond what what was possible until now.

Announcing Messenger 2.0, Facebook said:

Today at F8, we introduced Messenger Platform 2.0, a new suite of tools that gives you the ability to build richer experiences, get discovered, and extend the conversational, visual and social capabilities of your bots. With more than 1.2 billion monthly users and over 100,000 monthly active bots, we are focused on learning and building for our developers.

Let’s quickly dive into what is now possible with Messenger 2.0.

First up is Discover. As the name implies, Discover is a brand new surface that aims to let people bring out the best of Messenger. This includes finding the best bots, places and businesses in the Messenger platform. So basically, this is a way for Facebook to allow users to discover more interesting stuff messenger. This could include nearby places that people can message, and even businesses that can offer support or answer any questions that may pop up at any particular moment. Discover also includes a slew of other categories such as Entertainment, News, Food & Drink and many more.

The intent here is pretty obvious. The company wants you to discover new stuff while on its platform. This would basically lead to greater user engagement and more time spent on the platform. And you know, more engaged users translate into greater revenue in one way or the other. Facebook seems to be targeting the robust, one billion plu audience Messenger enjoys with this feature.

Next up are Chat Extensions. As the name implies, chat extensions allow you to do so much more with the no longer humble chat. Using these extensions, users can do stuff like bringing bots into conversation. This is by far not the limit of what is possible and you can also do things like collaborate on creating shopping lists, ordering food, splitting payments, sharing music and so on.

Chat extensions make a bot’s UI accessible via the composer, where people can then share it into a 1:1 or group conversation. TriviaBlast, Spotify, Swelly and many more already offer these experience.

Facebook also took the opportunity to announce Parametric Messenger Codes. The new tool allow businesses to generate multiple Messenger Codes for their bot. Businesses can also check which particular codes are being scanned the most. Interestingly, different messenger codes can also be deployed to activate different bot functionalities. Scan one and one funcationality is invoked, scan another and a second and so on.

For instance, hardware devices can feature parametric codes to allow people to link their account and control the device. Restaurants can assign tables using different codes, giving their bot a way to know where food should be delivered.

I know. The potential of just what is possible with this is literally huge.

Apart from this, Facebook has also come up with a Hand over protocol that will let the same bot perform different functionality. So if you had a bot called Tigga, that could offer customer support — you could now modify it so that it offered customer support and allowed people to shop depending upon the context of the conversation. Different developers can collaborate to create the different scenarios and vendors and developers will be able to pass control back and forth depending on the direction the conversation is taking.

With Messenger 2.0, Facebook seems to have made up its mind on the direction it wants to take with the messenger platform. Though it started off as an IM service, Messenger has since then evolved and grown into an entity of entirely different scale. With over one billion users, Facebook Messenger has huge, huge potential. And now, Facebook is attempting to leverage all that by letting users do so much more than just chat over messenger.

Stay tuned for more updates from the F8.

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