Facebook Messenger, unlike the average messaging app, is building itself into a full-on platform. The aim is to become the first point of access for mobile internet users, and the gambit is paying off in a big way abroad. In some larger markets, such as the US, Messenger is showing its dominance over other messaging platforms like LINE and Snapchat by the selection of bots available, from you average chat bot to Whole Foods. The newest bot to come to Facebook's camp and help in the race to replace apps is one from eBay, called ShopBot, that helps you find deals.
Currently in beta, the bot is able to help users shop across only a few eBay departments, but a lot of the bigger and more popular ones are covered. Users can check out electronics, sporting goods, toys and hobbies, fashion, health and beauty aids, and even the home and garden section. The bot is still working on learning things like natural language and context, but is already touted by eBay as being able to help a user who isn't sure exactly what they're looking for to figure out what they want and find the best deal on it. Using the bot works a lot like using the website, but in chat bot form; users can specify a brand and price within a category, for instance, and shop the results therein. Curated collections created by eBay staff are also on board, giving a spotlight to some more common recommendations.
One of the most exciting parts of the AI bot's development at this stage is that users are set to play a big role. Those who choose to get in on the ground floor will not only be helping the bot by using it, but they will be given the opportunity to give eBay feedback on things like the bot's performance, suggestions for new features, and trouble areas where the bot could use some special training. Users will find that the developing bot may sometimes overlook common options, or may not be able to refine a given search as deeply as using the website for now, but as with any AI chatbot, development moving along at a steady pace will eventually make the bot an indispensable companion for online shoppers.