Facebook is developing a special group of chatbots designed for group chats in Messenger, several sources with knowledge of the matter told TechCrunch. While the Menlo Park-based company refused to comment on the rumor, sources insist that group Messenger chatbots are coming and will be officially announced at the upcoming F8 developer conference that's taking place on April 18 and 19 in San Jose, California. The bots that Facebook is reportedly developing are designed to keep participants in Messenger group conversations informed about a variety of topics, from news and politics to delivery updates and stock fluctuation, the report states.
The new chatbots are said to be developed in collaboration with a number of major companies and will launch following this year's F8 conference. In addition to providing consumers with more things to do in Messenger, the initial bots are also meant to serve as a demonstration for third-party developers regarding what can be done with Facebook's upcoming application programming interfaces (APIs) for Messenger group chatbots. The Messenger Bot Platform was initially launched at last year's F8 but still mostly powers information bots that can sometimes fell short in one-on-one conversations due to unrealistic user expectations, the report speculates, adding that group chatbots might be a better alternative to their predecessors seeing how they'll likely be under less scrutiny during group conversations when users are only expecting them to provide information. The addition of group Messenger chatbots could also facilitate the process of discovering Messenger bots seeing how not every user will now have to type a specific name of a chatbot in the app in order to interact with it.
Apart from delivering a new, potentially more useful product powered by its Messenger Bot Platform, Facebook could also be turning to group chatbots in an effort to do a better job of monetizing its chatbot service in the long run, all while giving users yet another reason to spend more time in Messenger. While it remains to be seen whether the Menlo Park-based Internet giant actually ends up adding group chatbots to Messenger, an update on the situation is bound to follow shortly, no later than mid-April when F8 is taking place.