Facebook’s Messenger platform has absolutely taken off, now boasting a hefty 11,000 bots only three months after launching support for them. To build on that momentum, the company is launching a slew of new tools that should help developers increase user engagement and offer better bots.
The update is called Messenger Platform 1.1, and includes support for dynamic buttons for quick user replies, linking between customer accounts and businesses, more support for video and audio, and the ability for users to offer feedback on bots.
Quick replies could make bots a lot easier to engage with. When a bot asks a question, the feature will show users a series of buttons for typical replies so they don’t have to actually type out the reply. Developers themselves can manage the replies that show up, allowing them to make the feature as easy to use as possible. Up to 10 buttons can be added.
Another addition to the Messenger platform is the ability to rate bots and provide feedback to developers. Users can give bots star ratings, but unlike Google Play or the App Store, star ratings are only shared with the developer.
While video is the future, so far we haven’t really been able to enjoy video through bots. Thankfully, that’s now changing. Not only will the Messenger platform now support videos, but it will also support GIFs, audio, and files, helping businesses more easily convey their brand.
Last but not least are added controls over bots for users. You’ll now be able to mute a bot the same way you can mute a conversation with another Facebook user, ensuring that bots aren’t bringing more frustration than helpfulness.
It’s likely we’ll continue to see changes like this as time goes on, especially considering what a huge success the Messenger platform has been. Who knows, maybe one day we won’t need apps at all! Except for Messenger, that is.