Facebook Messenger May Be About to Get Way More Bots

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Facebook’s Messenger has recently started dabbling with chat bots, such as the one used by Uber to help you order a ride. Now, reports suggest that Zuckerberg & Co. may be about to open up such possibilities much more widely.

Tech Crunch reports that it believes Facebook is offering a special software development kit to some developers that will allow them to build Messenger bots. The idea, it seems, is to provide a similar experience to the Uber example, so that users can ask questions of a bot to gain information, order products and services, make payments and who knows what else.

Essentially, it might turn Messenger into more of a platform that other brands and business can use to provide their services, rather than just a channel through which to communicate. That shouldn’t, perhaps, come as much of a surprise: Facebook has been building the kinds of features required to enable this kind of thing into the app for a while now.

Indeed, users can already chat to some businesses directly using Messenger. But building out a series of bots could automate the experience and take it to a somewhat different level, where transactions take place through conversations rather than navigating a website or app. If it does happen, things might all feel a bit weird at first.

It may all sound like it treads all over the feet of Facebook’s own M personal assistant. But that’s missing the point somewhat: if Facebook can keep you inside Facebook to perform day-to-day transactions facilitated by bots, it will have an even greater hold on you than it does right now. Great? [Tech Crunch]

Image by Kārlis Dambrāns under Creative Commons license

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