Chatbots:-Facebook has officially launched its chatbots API for Messenger, which it’s naming Messenger Platform. Additionally, the Live Chat feature rumored to be hitting the Web is also launching today via an API.
The chatbots are aimed at businesses; Facebook’s bottom line is that it would rather companies use Messenger chatbots for automated customer service. If it has its way, the days of dialing 800-numbers just to get a menu of options will be over.
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Great. But what can you actually do with chatbots?
In the short term, many chatbots are basically glorified search boxes. It’s very early days, judging by the first wave of Facebook Messenger chatbots, which launched its chatbost platform this week.I’ve been chatting to six of them, and most provide information and links in response to keywords and/or selections from multiple-choice menus.Messenger is all about chatbots now. As expected, Facebook unveiled the Send and Receive API at its F8 conference. It lets you create chatbots for Messenger to search for things and interact with businesses. But what if you want to use machine learning and create more complex scenarios? Meet the Messenger chatbots Engine, Facebook’s more powerful chatbot framework.
Three Main Capabilities Within ChatBots for Messenger
- Send/Receive API. This new capability includes the ability to send and receive text, images, and rich bubbles with CTAs.
- Generic Message Templates. People prefer to tap buttons and see beautiful images, rather than learn a new programming language to interact with bot. That’s why Facebook built structured messages with call to actions, horizontal scroll, urls, and postbacks.
- Welcome screen + Null state CTAs. Our first principle was giving developers space to own the experience. Think of the message thread as your app.
Finding a chatbot on Messenger:
The easiest way to find chatbots on messenger or Facebook is by searching from within the Messenger app. Simply type a business into the search bar at the top of Messenger. But you can also access bots by scanning a business’ Messenger Code by clicking on a Messenger Link — custom URLs that deep link back to message threads within Messenger. (Facebook introduced both of these features last week just prior to F8.)
The initial group of partners includes 33 companies, including CNN, Burger King, Bank of America, Staples and Fandango, but we’re likely to see a lot more integrations in the near term as more developers get their hands on the tools.
So what do you do with messenger chatbots?
The scope of the current crop of chatbots for Messenger is fairly broad.
- You can order flowers (via 1-800-Flowers), get notifications about your bank account (Bank of America)
- Oorder food (Burger King) and print photos (HP).
- There are also chatbots meant to enable communication between businesses — like those from Salesforce and Zendesk — and even a bot for asking health questions (HealthTap).
In practice, many of the interactions you can actually have with these bots are, so far, fairly limited, though it varies a bit depending on the company. A bot from a company called Poncho can provide daily weather updates based on your location. It can also personalize its reports based on whether you’re prone to pollen allergies or frizzy hair.
Sponsored messages (and how to block them)
While the full scope of Facebook’s plan to monetize Messenger is unclear, the company’s head of Messenger David Marcus did reveal the company is testing sponsored messages inside of Messenger.
While Facebook has so far declined to say how these interactions will work, we do know that you will be able to block sponsored messages from appearing within message threads, even if you have previously messaged a business. All you have to do is select “block” in the top right corner of a message thread to change your block settings.
So far, CNN, Poncho, 1-800-Flowers, Spring and Sequel are tapping into Messenger chatbots. To access them, just visit the associated Facebook page for each brand and click ‘Message,’ and you’re on your way. If you want to see the ongoing list of chatbots being added to Messenger, check out the Bots App Store.
India’s First Messenger chatbot “Lybrate” is On Live Now:
Online doctor consultation platform Lybrate on Monday said that it was launching its consultation service on Facebook’s Messenger app via its new bot.
The company said that its bot on Messenger will help people ask a health-related query from its network of over 100,000 doctors in real-time, and gain seamless access to authenticated medical content that is shared by healthcare experts themselves.
Lybrate has also integrated a health quiz in the Messenger bot to make the platform more engaging for users.
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