Facebook also chases Telegram and announces bots on Messenger: companies will be able to program virtual assistants able to automatically chat with their customers
San Francisco – One year after the launch of Messenger Platform, Facebook today announced the release of Messenger Platform beta, opening the platform to chatbots and reaching a long list of services that already support them Telegram, Slack, Line and Kik to which Skype has recently been added .
In practice, developers will now be able to program virtual assistants can respond to Messenger users' questions in natural language, to share services and information. For example, Facebook has released a bot that helps developer conference attendees find topics of interest to them in the program:
As announced two weeks ago by Microsoft with Cortana, even Facebook's virtual assistant, M, can perform more complex operations on behalf of users, for example by delivering flowers to someone's home, booking trips or restaurants in response to a simple chat request. The first example was created by KLM, whose chatbot you can ask for flight confirmation, check-in reminders, boarding pass, updates and responses from customer service.
In the same way, thanks to artificial intelligence, companies will be able to automatically interact with their customers on one of the most popular chat platforms in the world: Messenger, in fact, counts well today 900 million active users every month.
During the developer conference taking place in San Francisco, David Marcus, VP of Facebook for Messenger, retraced how the Internet has changed conversations: today you no longer need to physically meet someone and interactions can take place on a much larger scale; the advent of smartphones has made the Internet even more widespread and accessible, but today we download less and less apps and we still have to resort to phone calls to companies to deal with any emergencies.
Already today 50 million companies are on Messenger, generating traffic of 1 billion messages per month. This is why Facebook has decided to make conversations simpler and faster. Bots can be programmed for answer questions from users context, images and links, while users will always be guaranteed the possibility to block conversations that they deem useless or annoying.