BREAKING NEWS

Facebook Messenger Bots

There has been a lot of talk about Facebook’s new Messenger bots — but how and why do you actually use them?

“Business communication is what a lot of people dread the most,” says Peter Martinazzi, director of product management on Messenger. “It’s a sucky experience.”

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Facebook’s Messenger app displays friends and bots.

Bots, he says, are going to change that.

Why would you use bots?

Martinazzi and the rest of his team want Messenger bots to stand in for all of the times you have to call an airline, hunt through your email for a receipt or order a gift online.

If you say hello to the 1-800-Flowers bot, it responds and asks for the delivery address before showing you some options of flowers you can send.

Spring Bot helps you shop, Poncho will send you a real-time local weather report, send a gift card through Philz Coffee, book hotels through Expedia or read the news through CNN.

How do you use bots?

Think of it like a conversation. Just like you’d search for a friend, search for a company.

Then just say hi or ask a question. The bot will prompt you to find out what it is you need. Then follow along with its cues or type your questions into the messaging space. The bots use artificial intelligence to figure out what you’re saying, and if all goes as planned, respond appropriatly.

What companies have bots?

Right now, these thirty companies have bots: 1-800-Flowers, Bank of America, Burger King / Tim Hortons, Business Insider, CNN, eBay, Expedia, Fandango, Great Western Railway / Conversocial, HealthTap, HP, LivePerson, Mic, Operator, OwnerListens, Philz Coffee, Poncho, Rogers, Salesforce, Shopify, Sonar, Spark Central, Spring, Staples, StubHub, theScore, Thrillist, ToyTalk, Twilio, UNICEF, Zalando, Zendesk and Zingle.

Martinazzi says if your favorite store isn’t on the list, just hang tight. More bots are expected to roll out soon due to Facebook’s new release for developers that helps companies make bots of their own. “I think there are going to be a lot of submissions even tonight,” Martinazzi says.

Source Cowan: USA Today

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