Facebook Messenger's VP Explains Issues with Chatbots

This year, the next big thing for tech companies seemed to be chatbots. Bots that are part of their chat service (Skype, Facebook Messenger, Allo, etc) that can basically function as a personal assistant. Microsoft was first, adding them into Skype. Allowing you to chat with the bot and it could add things to your calendar and such, with ease. Then came Facebook with chatbots for Messenger. These bots seemed to be a bit more helpful. One of the prime examples was with the NBA chatbot for the NBA Finals. You could ask it for highlights, scores, and much more, without needing to search Google, or use the NBA (or another sports app) to get the information. You could also have it send you highlights after each game.

While chatbots seemed pretty awesome, Facebook Messenger's VP, David A. Marcus noted that "the problem was that it got really overhyped very, very quickly." Marcus added that the "basic qualities we provided at that time weren't good enough to replace traditional apps." Basically stating that chatbots were a very early beta, and the public was very excited about chatbots, and perhaps a bit too excited. Marcus also noted that some of the problems the platform faced included the fact that developers were given a very limited amount of time to develop their first chatbots that debuted at F8 in April. Developers were given just two weeks, which is a short period of time normally, but even shorter when developing on essentially a brand new platform.

Marcus stated that there are over 34,000 developers actively working on chatbots for Facebook Messenger. Currently, there are over 30,000 bots on the platform, and that's three times the number that the platform had in July. There are no chatbots that let you pay for things, as well as others that can display web content directly inside Messenger. Mapping, news and retail bots are also said to be very successful so far, for Facebook Messenger.

Facebook has been working on Messenger for quite a few years, and have made it more than just a messaging app. It's currently an app that can replace a few other apps on your phone, like your SMS app that comes pre-installed. And now you can get your news, do some shopping and much more all within the Messenger app.
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