Facebook F8: Bots Replacing Applications, Content Moving to Social Networks
April 18th, 2016
Social network Facebook at the F8 conference for developers has prepared a number of new interesting products. Among them: chatbot creation platform, Account Kit authorization instrument as well as several other API-kits for marketing, video, and analytics. Presented innovations have clearly shown the Facebook development vector for the nearest future, especially since the company itself has voiced its road-map for the upcoming decade.
Analyzing these changes, we can conclude that Facebook is transforming into an ecosystem of applications, services, and technologies. At the same time, the social network management’s focus will be given to the artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, as well as the communication and interaction technologies.
Despite the sheer number of innovation announcements, the most notable and interest-generating (considering the reaction of the IT community and media) was the launch of a Facebook Messenger chatbot creation platform. The emergence of such a platform means that a company can create its own chatbot that will work within the Facebook messenger to, for example, communicate with customers or buyers, helping to answer questions, clarify the order delivery time, or send a notification about new products and promotional offers.
Chatbots will work within the Facebook Messenger and one would not need a separate application to interact and communicate with them. This is why the appearance of the Facebook bot-platform can be named one of the events that will change the familiar IT-market landscape.
Currently, there are a few more or less successful bots that work in the Facebook Messenger. For example, CNN News Bot sends short news to their subscribers and, if requested, can send the full text of the news. Spring e-store created a bot that helps to manage online shopping process, and KLM airline allows their clients to check in for their flight using a bot.
The rapid growth of the audience’s interest towards the Facebook Messenger, as well as the overpopularity of the Facebook social network, led to looking for ways to use these instruments for business purposes. The appearance of chatbots and a platform for their creation is not just another way for Facebook to earn money. This is also a new approach to the user's’ interface and experience. Clients of e-stores, airlines, or even the readers of online media will not have to install special apps to work with various services. Chatbots will help to get the necessary information, will share what’s important for the person reading the message. Push-notifications the users will be getting are usually perceived as useful and the open-rate more than 50% from the general or the total open rate and sometimes is as high as 80%. At the same time, it’s highly doubtful that businesses will completely abandon their own mobile apps and switch to use bots exclusively. Chatbots will simply become one of the client communication instruments - quite convenient and simple. For small businesses and startups, chatbots will become the easiest way to get to their clients’ cell phones.
The chatbot platform has been hailed not simply as a main trend, but also the biggest event of the decade, the post effect of which can be compared with AppStore and iPhone SDK launches.
Meanwhile, the mere creation of a chatbot platform is not such a significant event for the IT market future. Chatbots will revolutionize the modern internet only when they will have machine learning and data analysis functions and use big data for their actions. In that case, the chatbot would know and understand users’ preferences and interests and be able to offer them something specific.
Today, Facebook has one of the most comprehensive databases of the Internet users. The database contains not only the socio-demographic data about people but also the information about their interests and preferences. Besides that, the ability to analyze the data volumes helps to forecast the typical behavior of a person in any given situation. This data can be used in programming the chatbots. Companies that can create such chatbots that will offer the man to order flowers for his wife after an argument, suggest to buy fresh milk or coffee, remind about upcoming wedding anniversary, advise to buy aspirin when someone gets a cold, get gas for the car, or track the shares’ prices, will be able to make quite a lot of money on such solutions.