Facebook announced their own bots for their Messenger app back at f8 – Facebook's own developer conference. We've seen a few different ones available already. And with the 2016 NBA Finals getting underway yesterday, Facebook and the NBA launched a bot to keep you updated on some of the highlights from the Finals as well as the playoffs and regular season. While the NBA does have a fairly large fanbase with over 30 million likes on Facebook alone, it is also a big deal as it's one of the first bots that brings you highlights from games.
Unfortunately, asking the bot what the score was in last night's game isn't possible. It appears that currently, the bot can only send you highlights of top plays, the playoffs and the last game. And that is even limited to just players and teams in the NBA Finals. This will likely change over time, as Facebook and the NBA work more on this new chatbot. The chatbot will send you highlights in video form, which when you tap on them, will take you to the NBA's website to watch it. The bot will also ask you if you want to be notified of top plays after each game for the team or player that you search for.
This NBA chatbot is likely one of the first widely used chatbots available for Facebook Messenger, but it won't be the only one. As Facebook has said there are already "tens of thousands" of developers hard at work in developing chatbots. The platform is still quite young, so while chatbots still aren't that great, or as great as you'd like them to be, there is definitely room for them to grow. You can check out the NBA chatbot at m.me/nba, which will direct you to the Facebook Messenger app or the website, depending on if you are currently on desktop or mobile.
Facebook Messenger isn't the only platform with chatbots. Microsoft also announced a form of them coming to Skype back at their developer conference, Microsoft Build, earlier this year. Google announced a new messaging app named "Allo" which has a chatbot included, and that is the Google Assistant. Both of which were announced at Google I/O this year.