Facebook’s F8 developer conference gets underway in San Francisco this Tuesday and Wednesday where a couple of big announcements are expected to be made. While the social network is holding its cards close to its chest, there already are enough hints of an increased focus being accorded to chatbots along with other tools aimed at monetising the Messenger Platform.
With over 900 million users, Facebook has a huge advantage of reaching out to a vast section of people, which is exactly what the company wishes to cash in on at the moment. With that in mind, the company wishes to have on board companies represented by their 1-800 numbers.
For instance, 1-800-Flowers could be among the first to debut on the Messenger app. 1-800-Flowers specializing in delivering flowers and food baskets, will be communicating with those whom they have served in the past and notify them about upcoming events or holidays to promote their wares. Companies like Uber, Lyft as well as Dutch airline KLM have already stated they would be reaching out to its clients via the Messenger app.
However, with most companies not likely have the kind of technical expertise required to develop chatbots themselves, Facebook is expected to share APIs and SDKs needed for developers to come up with chatbots for business users. Further, while users are yet to view the Messenger app as anything beyond the communication medium it is right now, the trend to conduct business via the app is expected to pick up in due course.
Microsoft too had devoted a significant portion of its Build 2016 conference to discuss bots and highlight the immense potential it has in helping businesses reaping increased benefits.
Facebook has also been pushing its agenda on videos quite aggressively lately, something that no doubt will also rake up a considerable discussion at the F8 developer conference as well. It has only recently launched its Live video streaming feature as well as a separate hub for videos. Couple those to the Oculus Rift VR headset it had launched earlier and the recent buzz around virtual reality and there could be something really exciting cooking on this front.
An announcement on Instant Articles is also due at the event, with more publishers and developers likely to build on the inherent strength that the feature comes with. With Instant Articles, publishers will be able to host their articles directly at Facebook thereby allowing for faster page load times compared to when the pages are loaded at the publisher’s own site.
Facebook is already claiming to have several hundred publishers using its Instant Articles feature, and the focus will obviously be to have more on board.
Keep watching for more updates on this as it happens.