Happy F8 Week everyone! Next installment is sure to be FULL of news, so stay tuned for that. If you’re heading to F8, let us know! Jacobo Tarragón from team Reply.ai will be out there, would love to meet up! Now, bots...
So much excitement brewing in the days before F8, this article takes a minute to examine the biggest challenges bots still face--as well as an increasingly irrefutable truth: “in the minds of some people, as Messenger goes, so too does the bot industry.” The first major challenges is a need for better developer relations (evidenced by the revolutionary release of 1.4 and the introduction of chatless bots that surprised everyone) and second, the lack of discoverability for bots (i.e. a bot store). The cry for a bot store is interesting in that it exposes a disconnect between how developers see bots, and how Facebook does. A bot store opens the potential for independent bot developers (e.g Swelly), looking to make the “killer bot” ala app store early days. But, one could argue that the lack of a bot store is a clear indicator that that’s just not how FB sees bots or their path forward. Bots, to FB, are about communication at scale, largely B2C. So why would that need a bot store? Facebook itself *is* the bot store. Here’s hoping that more than anything, F8 brings answers.
A refreshing reminder that, while we’re still rounding the corner on a year since Facebook’s Send/Receive API was unveiled, we’re still at the very beginning of this brave bot world. What does that mean? It means there’s still huge opportunity to be a category king! So be bold. And this article offers a great step-by-step guide to getting the word out on your bot (instead of sitting around bemoaning the lack of a bot store).
An amusing view into a day-in-the-life of Jassim Latif, Slack’s head of platform partnerships. Some bits are difficult to believe, but it's a pretty good read. It’s the optimized-obsessed’s heaven, really. At team Reply, we’ll be sure to test a couple of these!
Interesting look at the state of M, Facebook’s personal assistant bot, currently only in the hands of 10,000 users and largely human-powered. Few questions arise, first off--why test it with such an elite group? This is admittedly conjecture based on the limited information we have on the test users who, according to this article, are “Facebook employees, and then to some heavy Messenger users in California.” but it seems, well, like a missed opportunity to, I don’t know, make a difference early on, even with just the test audience. Why not make the testers single moms? Or urban minorities? Or any other group who might benefit from having an extra set of digital hands in a very real way, vs, just making it slightly easier to pick an Italian restaurant? It’s just--maybe the reason some of these don’t gain mainstream adoption is because we’re ignoring who the mainstream is? Or who could feel a real difference in their lives--not just slightly more convenience? Other interesting things--we wonder how much of the user’s Facebook data M leverages? Right now, seems like it’s just trained based on questions asked/answers, but what about the insane amounts of data Facebook already has on its users--how are they using that, if at all?