Facebook’s F8 Developer conference was kicked off today by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The annual developer conference will go on for two days — 18-19 April. Towards the end of the first day’s keynote, David Marcus, the VP of messaging products announced the new Messenger Platform 2.0.

The Messenger Platform 2.0 focusses a lot on brands and businesses and improves on ways for regular people to help discover them.

“We’ve also spent the last 12 months focused on improving and launching products and features that help us all stay in touch in delightful ways – from our new camera, group video chats and even games,” said Marcus on the Facebook blog.

Marcus spoke about the importance of bots in various aspects of communication: translation bots helping refugees; bots answering health-related questions; bots assisting students with home work and so on. The bot developer community was rightly applauded during the keynote address.

Here are some of the main additions to the Messenger Platform 2.0

Discover Tab

Instead of finding it difficult to look for bots, Messenger will now have a separate Discover tab which will help you discover the businesses that you need to get in touch with or services you need to use. The Discover tab will be rolling out gradually. The bots will be categorised for easier discovery, in a way that you will not need to get out of Messenger to look something up. You will get to see trending bots, featured bots and a dedicated search bar to look up more bots.

Parametric Messenger Codes

This feature builds up on the Messenger Codes and extends it to branded bots. The only example shown was that of the Golden State Warriors’ (GSW) basketball team, where you can point the messenger camera to a branded GSW bot or player, and you will get news and updates about the game.

Chat Extensions

Chat Extensions lets multiple people talk with the same businesses, at the same time. This is a means for developers to insert themselves in regular messaging. Say for instance, you are group chatting and want to share a song, then you can just select the right bot and send a song through it to the entire group. Launch partners include Spotify. Another instance is if you want to order food, your group can make selections from bot that is suggested, and then you can natively pay from the Messenger app.

More from M

M is the virtual assistant on Messenger which is a mix of machine learning and human intervention. It makes tasks which you would manually do, a bit simpler. “These include fun stickers to say “thank you,” a reminder to meet up with a friend, or an easy way to pay someone back or get paid via peer-to-peer payments. Powered by artificial intelligence, M recognizes when people are doing specific tasks and provides helpful suggestions,” says the official release. Now that does sound kind of annoying and a means to help businesses to be pushed to customers. Just like Google Now, the more you use M, the more relevant suggestions you will get.

Gaming

According to Marcus, around 1.5bn games have been played in the last 3 months on Messenger. The Messenger Platform 2.0 is all set to get a game bot and richer gameplay (turn-by-turn games). You can also challenge your friends to games in Messenger by tapping the Games tab on the Messenger home screen. It is expected to roll out gradually across the world.

Publish date: April 19, 2017 12:51 am| Modified date: April 19, 2017 10:12 am

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