By David Marcus, VP of Messenger
- New Ways to Discover: Businesses and Brands
- New Ways to Connect: Share your Favorite Music, Play Games, Order Food
- New Ways for Developers to Build: Platform 2.0
Last F8, we opened the Messenger Platform to the global community of developers. Since then, we have listened and learned a lot, and we’re thrilled to see it become a thriving channel for brands, developers and consumers to connect with each other and the things they love. We’ve also spent the last 12 months focused on improving and launching products and features that help us all stay in touch in delightful ways – from our new camera, group video chats and even games.
The numbers may be impressive, but they don’t immediately capture the impact we have seen bots for Messenger have on people around the world or the ways in which the community of developers have built for the common good. From translation bots helping refugees, to bots that answer health questions, opportunities to support causes and even experiences that assist students with homework — the creativity, ingenuity and vision of our bot developer community has been awesome.
We think 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 nearly 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).
Here’s all our F8 news:
Making Messenger More Seamless and Fun
- Discovery in the Digital World – Discover tab: We wanted to find a way to make it easy and simple for people to find the businesses they care about in Messenger. We’ve built a Discover tab, and starting to roll out to a few people in the US today, right from the home screen, people can find their recently used bots, popular experiences and a free-form search field. Developers can learn more about how to apply to have their bot included in this curated tab by going here.
- Discovery in the Physical World – Messenger Codes: Our new parametric QR codes will enable people whenever they are out and about at events, like at basketball games and concerts, to be able to find out more from a bot for Messenger, just by simply scanning the code in the Messenger camera.
- Chat Extensions: The experiences being built in Messenger are inherently social. Now with Chat Extensions, we enable multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time. If you are excited to share the newest song you love, you can now add a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience with your friends. We think that this will enable people to virally share bots. You can currently find favorite brands like Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal and Kayak — with many more on the way.
- More from M: M, our virtual assistant, now makes suggestions in your conversations, offering up ways to make your life simpler. These include fun stickers to say “thank you,” a reminder to meet up with a friend, or an easy way to pay someone back or get paid via peer-to-peer payments. Powered by artificial intelligence, M recognizes when people are doing specific tasks and provides helpful suggestions. We think the next step is to offer people more ways to do more – so today M can now offer the ability to order food through delivery.com. If you’re chatting with friends about what to grab for dinner, M may suggest placing an order. The whole experience can be completed in Messenger, including group ordering and payment. The more you use M, the more it will make relevant suggestions to you. This is available in the US where delivery.com serves.
- Introducing New Rich Gameplay: With over 1.5 billion games played in just the last 90 days, now we are adding some additional product features like game bots and Rich Gameplay (turn-by-turn games) to make your gaming even more fun. And it’s now even easier to challenge your friends to a game in Messenger by tapping the Games tab on the Messenger home screen – which is starting to roll out today to some people in the US.
Helping Developers and Businesses Build and Create
- Smart Replies for Pages: One pain point for many small businesses is managing messages they receive. Small businesses benefit greatly from having messaging turned on so they can interact with and provide service to their customers as quickly as possible. Today, we’re launching the ability for Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions, such as business hours, directions and contact details. Powered by our AI bot engine, Wit.ai, Smart Replies offers an API that enables businesses to create an AI-powered responder to these types of FAQs.
- Parametric Messenger Codes: Businesses are now able to generate multiple parametric QR codes for one bot, offering their customers more choice. For example, to track where a code was scanned, or to apply a different QR code for each table at a restaurant. This also gives people the potential to scan via the camera instead of the QR scanner feature.
- Hand-over Protocol: We’ve provided a way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger. 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.
That’s all our news! We hope that Messenger Platform 2.0 will enable our developer community to enhance experiences, leverage the power of AI and build more bots to help businesses connect in more meaningful ways. We know that developers will continue to create amazing and powerful experiences for people all over the world, and we’re excited to see these come to fruition. The team here at Messenger is dedicated to supporting all of this potential; we’d like to thank our community, and as always, please let us know what you think.