Facebook launches chatbots for Messenger
Facebook announced that it was bringing chatbots into its popular messaging app, 'Messenger'. At its ongoing F8 conference, the company showed that with chatbots, an interactive software powered by artificial intelligence and with human help, users can interact with businesses. Messenger users now can try about a half dozen chatbots. This will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance and content.
What is FB F8?
F8 is Facebook's annual conference for developers and entrepreneurs who rely on its services. F8 conference serves as company's curtain raiser for its newest products and features. The term F8 came from Facebook's internal tradition of holding 8-hour hackathons during its early days. The inaugural edition of the conference was held in 2007, where FB introduced "social graph" that depicts interpersonal connections of users.
Popular features introduced in the past F8 conferences
In the 2010 F8 conference, Facebook first unveiled its social plugins – the "Like" button, recommendations, and the activity feed – and the open graph protocol. Facebook Timeline, which replaced the Wall, was showcased in the 2011 F8 conference.
Facebook F8 Conference 2016 kicks off
Facebook's annual developer conference F8 2016, scheduled from April 12 -13, kicked off at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California. At this year's F8, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg laid out his company's 10 year roadmap as part of his keynote . The conference began with a host of announcements, and there was a strong emphasis on virtual reality and augmented reality.
FB Messenger has a 900 million user reach
Facebook commands a vast trove of data on the estimated 1.6 billion people who use its social networking service and the 900 million who use Messenger.
What are chatbots?
Chatbots are automated programs that help users communicate with businesses and carry out tasks such as online purchases. They can conduct human-like conversation and do simple jobs once reserved for people. Messaging platforms including Kik, Slack and Telegram already have chatbots. Through Messenger's new Send/Receive API, bots can respond with structured messages that lets users make a restaurant reservation, review an e-commerce order, etc.
More announcements at F8
Apart from chatbots, FB revealed a new 360-degree camera, the Surround 360 that produces sharp, truly spherical footage in 3D. The system includes stitching technology, which puts together the video footage from multiple (17) cameras into a seamless video. Facebook also announced a new Profile Expressions Kit, which allows people to share videos from third-party apps directly as a Facebook Profile Video.