Facebook is probably the single most downloaded app among all platforms of all smartphones. The social media giant is however not content to be just an app and wants to transform itself into a platform where other developers can take advantage of the platform it is offering.
It is a lofty goal and one that Facebook thinks can be achieved with the help of ‘bots’. Certain companies like Facebook and Microsoft believe that these ‘bots’ have the potential to replace app-based experiences and become the primary way in which users reach out to companies for services.
Their belief is that the Facebook messenger has everything that is needed to become this platform and it was for this purpose that users were essentially ‘forced’ to download a separate messaging app by killing of messaging in the main facebook app.
More than 34,000 developers have built 30,000 bots for the messaging platform already. For those that do not know, bots are Ai powered programs designed to accomplish a narrow set of tasks (often singular) through natural language instructions.
These work from right within the messaging app and provide an immense amount of convenience to the users when they work as intended. For example, users can download a pizza restaurant bot and then just ‘text it’ the order. The restaurant service bot will do all the rest and have it delivered to your house within a short amount of time.
Some of the most popular bots currently are those that provide news about topics of interest to the users. Unfortunately though for facebook, the initial set of bots were not the highest quality pieces of software and left a lot to be desired in terms of execution.
Facebook Messanger Head, David Marcus, agreed with the same sentiment and even said that facebook had probably rushed the roll out of its Messanger platform giving developers little time to develop high-quality bots.
The race to be the first to offer such functionality was essential between Facebook’s Messenger and Microsoft’s Skype. Both companies now have a platform for developers, although it does seem that the bots on Skype are powered by a more powerful AI.
Facebook’s advantage of having a treasure trove of user data to help it learn though should prove to be a decisive advantage in the end.
Zuckerburg and company realize that they need to make their Messenger platform more capable and that is why they have now included the ability for users to complete transactions right within the messenger window while interacting with bots.
It is a wonderful addition and will help reinforce the ‘convenience’ part of things. Facebook also has the size to appeal to all major payment platforms and even announced that Paypal, American Express, Visa, MasterCard and others are all on board with the idea.
Facebook now has a platform that developers can leverage to make real money and make it a competitor to eBay, Apple, Google and other e-commerce sites instantly. The possibilities are limitless for the growth of this platform and one can expect facebook to keep investing in this to make it bigger and better than ever before.