Facebook had that F8 developers summit yesterday and as predicted, several interesting announcements were made from chat bots to Artificial intelligence.
Its All About Chatbots
The social media giant will now allow businesses interact with their customers on Facebook Messenger using automated support and other interactive services using Chatbots. Facebook announced that the its new “Messenger Send / Receive API will support not only sending and receiving text, but also images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action. Developers can also set a welcome screen for their threads to set context as well as different controls. Starting today, all developers and businesses will have access to documents to build bots for Messenger, and submit them for review. We will gradually accept and approve submissions to ensure the best experiences for everyone on Messenger.” Facebook has effectively opened this platform to developers to build bots that for businesses on their own or by using Facebook’s Bot building partners. There will be a search bar for Bots within the Messenger to search for Bots. Ok enough! Let’s just make this as simple as possible. The summary of all you have just read is that automated chats will now be fused into the Facebook Messenger as you know it. So this makes it easier for you t interact with your favourite businesses like restaurants, ecommerce sites or even banks. The best way I think to understand this is looking at it from an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) point of view. So you call the company probably after closing hours and a machine talks through a process that may or may not solve your problem eventually just like a human would have done only this time in the case of Facebook, it’s more like a chat process instead of voice.
What happens to those human jobs?
So because through Artificial intelligence for example chats can now be as interactive and personal as well, this could further threaten jobs. See our analysis on this here. But it looks more like as customer service jobs are lost, programming and software jobs continue to gain on announcements of this nature. Right now, businesses are still weighing whether this would work and probably eliminate the cost of providing a high traffic 0800 toll free number. Because these Bots may effectively learn more personal attributes that you have over time, businesses may learn new ways of personalizing services to you.
I like Messenger but I don’t like this service
Facebook has always touted its users first mantra which led them some years ago to reassure users that their interactions with friends and not pages was paramount in light of the millions of Pages on Facebook. This was announced last year when Facebook tweaked it’s algorithm to favour posts from friends in the News Feed over other non friends posts. With respect to the Chatbots which could b annoying to users if not well managed, “People will be able to mute and block communications that they don’t want to receive. There are also strict policies for developers and businesses to uphold and we will have review processes to ensure we carefully evaluate how our community is responding” said David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook.
Revenue for Facebook
So as more businesses use this to make money, Facebook sees a new revenue stream here. The company plans to earn money by sending Sponsored Messages to people who have started a conversation with a business. There is also a “Click To Message” News Feed advert. By making this appear in the News Feed, businesses can engage with your directly and eventually make a sale to you.
The night turned a bit political as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks building walls as championed by one of the US presidential candidates is not the answer rather more integration and connectivity is. He unveiled plans by Facebook to reach the entire 7 billion humans on the planet half of whom are not online. It might interest you to know that Facebook now has 1.5 billion users in a which represents half of the entire online world.