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Facebook Seeks to Improve Bots for People, Brands, and Developers

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Apr 18, 2017, 1:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Facebook today announced major changes to its Messenger platform that should make bots easier to find and use. To start, Messenger now includes a Discover tab where people can recall recently used bots, as well as use a free-form search field to seek out new bots. Messenger bakes in new support for QR code scanning via mobile device cameras. The idea, says Facebook, is to make it simpler for people to find and interact with bots, particularly when they encounter QR codes when out in the real world. For brands and developers, Messenger gains new chat extensions. These will let everyone in a single group converse with the same bot at the same time. Facebook says this will make it easier to share bots and bot conversations with others. Some early partners in this endeavor include Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal, and Kayak. M, Facebook Messenger's artificial intelligence, receives a boost in capabilities, too. For example, M now makes suggestions within conversations, such as to say "thank you" or set reminders. Last, the new Messenger platform renews its focus on social gameplay. Messenger gains game bots that can play turn-by-turn games with single players, as well as help challenge others to games via Messenger. These features are rolling out to Messenger users in the U.S. first, with other regions to follow.




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