Facebook launches new platform to bring AI-powered bots to Messenger

Facebook introduced its new Messenger Platform on stage during its F8 developer conference. With the platform, developers can build AI-powered bots for Facebook Messenger that the company thinks will remove the need for some mobile apps, particularly those dealing with commerce.

Using 1-800-Flowers as an example, Facebook demonstrated how a commerce-focused bot in Messenger could work. You can place your order with that company's bot, rather than through an app or the web, and pay using your stored payment information in Messenger. It also showed off a CNN bot that sent new digests that could become more personalized over time.

From Facebook:

We're excited to introduce bots for the Messenger Platform. Bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them.

Facebook's announcement comes as bots are becoming an increasing focus for a number of companies. Microsoft recently announced its own AI-powered bot platform, and Messenger rival Kik launched its own bot store last week.

Joseph Keller