Facebook F8: Messenger’s new abilities to enhance the ‘social living room’

Facebook has introduced new developments on Messenger, to help make the chat platform more “seamless and fun.”

Facebook has announced new capabilities in its Messenger platform at the F8 developer conference.

After opening the platform up to developers at last year’s F8, Messenger VP David Marcus says “we’ve spent the last 12 months focused on improving and launching products and features that help us all stay in touch in delightful ways.”

 

 

Developments introduced include:

Discover tab

Discover tab will help users find the businesses they care about within Messenger. From the home screen, people can find recently used bots, popular experiences and a free-form search field.

Messenger codes

New parametric QR codes will enable people whenever they are out and about at events to find out more from a bot by scanning codes in the Messenger camera.

Chat Extensions

“We think that this will enable people to virally share bots,” says Marcus.

Chat Extensions enables multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. Spotify, NBA and Wall Street Journal are some brands currently available.

M

Messenger’s AI-powered virtual assistant M, will be able to make suggestions within user conversations.

These may include meeting reminders, easy ways to pay back friends via P2P payments, or recognising when two friends are talking about food and suggesting dinner plans.

Rich gameplay

New game bots and turn-by-turn based games will be accompanied by a new Games tab on the Messenger home screen.

Capabilities for businesses

  • Smart Replies for Pages: Powered by Facebook’s AI bot engine Wit.ai, Smart Replies offers businesses the chance to create automated response to frequently asked questions sent from customers.
  • Parametric Messenger Codes: Businesses will be able to produce multiple QR codes for one bot, offering customers more choice.
  • Hand-over Protocol: “We’ve provided a way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger,” says Marcus.
    “For example, a business might want to have a personal shopping bot and also a customer service bot. Different vendors and developers will be able to manage the conversation for the use case the customer is requesting,” he says.


Marcus thinks of Messenger as being like “the new social living room for the world, where people can hang out, share, chat, play games or buy things, while still being able to reach everyone, wherever they are.”

“We now think we are combining two tools of the past — the telephone directory (the way we used to find people) with the Yellow Pages (the way we used to find businesses)” he says on a Facebook Newsroom F8 post.

 

Further reading: 

 

Ben Ice
BY Ben Ice ON 19 April 2017