This week everyone is talking about the same thing: Parse, the most popular mobile backend as a service, has announced that the service will be shutting down next year.
I like Parse. And I used it quite a lot: all our Telegram bots run on Parse, with 120k users. And we’ve sent tens of millions of notifications from our Android apps through Parse.
So, this is pretty bad news on at least two fronts. On the one hand, it looks like Facebook couldn’t make it work in a way that made sense financially. If that was their main reason, it represents a big warning for other companies offering similar services. But, also, this has an effect on the trust of developers on current and future Facebook developer services, including the upcoming Chat SDK. We'll have to think harder about our backup plan.
Offtopic: this newsletter is growing very fast mainly through word of mouth, thanks a lot!
Ten months have passed since Facebook announced Business on Messenger, which lets businesses integrate with Facebook Messenger and communicate directly with customers. It’s interesting that both messaging apps from Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger, are going after the business to consumer interaction. Just to get an idea about the (possible) shift, in China many businesses are "WeChat" first, creating WeChat Official Accounts before a webpage.
Intercom shares their view about how integrations between apps, specially with messaging apps, and deep linking may solve the hard problem of discoverability in the current App Stores. Or, rather, avoid it, by killing the App Stores. That’s easy to say for big companies, but small startups will still have a hard time getting noticed.
The Slack app directory seems to be working. Very effectively. 350 teams registered for this simple To Do management bot in its first week. Looking at the stats shared by the company, most of them don’t seem to have used very much, though. It reminds me of the early days of Google Play: we published a super simple offline RSS reader in 2009. We became the top #1 News apps immediately. The market was starting, and everyone was willing to try something new, but that doesn’t mean they’ll use it every day.
The team behind Large share their process to design the conversations of their Slack bot to automate the checkout process that their bot follows. The ideal flow is simple, but taking into account all variations is not. It also shows how actual human agents help the bot in certain situations.
Chris Messina & Ben Eidelson talk about the platform shift from apps to conversational commerce. That term seems to be catching on. Who knows, maybe I may need to change the name of this newsletter to Conversational Commerce Weekly ;)
Simple and powerful bot to fetch your Google Analytics stats by using messages like “sessions this week” or “bounce rate last month”. Most analytics companies will most likely release their own bots for this, but Statsbot will probably try to position itself like the analytics bot that rules them all.