I could not finish last week's issue in time. We were working hard on a big release to our child reply.ai. I hope you enjoy this week's issue ;)
Twilio has released Twilio IP Messaging, competing with other Chat SDKs, and Twilio Notify, to send push notifications across SMS, Mobile apps and Messaging. And that's not all, they just released a marketplace for 3rd party add-ons to their Programmable SMS service.
Foursquare released a bot to discover restaurants. Cool. Microsoft is experimenting with consumer bots with a News bot. Cool. Now, go to the App Store to get them. Not cool.
Interesting stuff is happening too in the voice space. Google Home and Echo on one side, and Viv and Siri on the other, are fighting to be well positioned once voice assistants take off. All of them are releasing their own SDKs real soon. Sit back and relax, this war is going to be a lot of fun.
And the last thing that caught my attention. A Facebook engineer posted some tips about Messenger bots. He seems a bit worried about the quality of the bots being approved by Facebook. I share this concern: hopefully bots don't end up being wrappers around RSS or Instagram feeds in the minds of consumers.
Tips from Intercom about conversation interfaces. Here's a summary: don’t pretend to be a human, keep it incredibly simple, use custom elements when possible, optimize for the end user, keep interactions short and precise, and always provide an escape hatch.
High-level article about Kik's bot strategy. It brings up Kik Points (i.e. Kik Currency). Companies pay Kik to award points to users, after watching their advertisements or play their games. And, in turn, developers are incentivized through revenue sharing to encourage users to spend their Kik points on digital goods.
Twilio's CEO exposes his view about the current trends in conversational commerce: advanced notifications, bots, chat in apps, apps in chat and humans chatting with each other. An easy read, and great as an intro to share with people that are new to the space.
An analysis of the patent “Dynamically evolving cognitive architecture system based on third-party developers”, filed by Viv n December 2014. Great read for anyone curious about where Viv is heading and how complex a proper AI system can be. (The term AI is definitely being overused these days.)
There is no rulebook to make bots right. Everybody is still in a learning phase. So, if you are creating a bot, please be very selective when you read “best practices”. There are statements like “Good bots don’t rely too much on list and button UIs”. Without supporting data (that is, real conversations with users), these statements don't weigh much to me.