There's also a new discovery tab for finding businesses that can be directly contacted on Messenger, along with another tab dedicated to playing lightweight games in the app. Facebook attempted to do so a year ago with the introduction of chatbots, but that has been a little slow to take off. "Chatbots were always a means to an end, not an end", says Stan Chudnovsky, head of product at Messenger.
Facebook isn't charging businesses to create or host their bots in Messenger, and it doesn't plan to take a cut of digital payments in the app either. That's why one of Messenger 2.0's new features is a Discover tab just for businesses. Tap it and you'll see featured bots, trending bots, and a search bar to look for new ones. Now, they can chat with their friends and quickly share a song preview from Spotify, video highlights from the National Basketball Association, sports news from TheScore and more as part of a feature that the company calls chat extensions.
Even if Facebook is able to make bots appealing and more discoverable with Tuesday's updates, Messenger has yet to find a meaningful way to monetize its vast user base. So if you're chatting with your friends about what to have for dinner, M might pop up a suggestion to place an order from your favorite restaurant.
Elsewhere, Messenger is getting a bit of an AI refresh. M will try to push you into Facebook's payments product.
Facebook video murder suspect kills himself in Pa., police confirm
Rambling videos he shared showed his despair, saying he was out of options and wanted to kill as many innocent people as he could. One of Williams' detectives had managed to speak to Stephens via cellphone and had urged him to surrender.
If you're a business who doesn't necessarily want a full-on chatbot but still wants an easy way to communicate with customers, there's a new AI-enabled feature for you too. Through them, they can respond to frequently asked questions that customers regularly ask them (think business hours, directions, phone numbers, etc.). Facebook made the announcements at F8, its annual software conference in San Jose, California.
All of these efforts tie into something the company calls the Messenger Platform, which is essentially a way for third-party businesses to build automated chat bots that allow them to interact with the chat app's 1.2 billion monthly active users in an automated fashion. Instead of the siloed experiences that force you to open a new message thread each time you want to engage with a company or service, you can now take advantage of the bots inside the conversations you're already having.
Facebook also unveiled new Messenger QR codes, additional features for Messenger-based games and additional features for the company's chat-based virtual assistant Tuesday. Whether or not it succeeds, however, is another story.