Facebook Messenger launches Discover as it takes on chatbots (again)
Facebook isn’t done with chatbots quite yet; today, the company is launching Discover, a hub inside Messenger for discovering new and interesting chatbots to message with.
The section Facebook announced at F8 is going live for users stateside, and the company is billing it as an opportunity for people to interact with businesses and brands in more useful ways. The platform is, you guessed it, all about discovering new bots to give a whirl. In the tab, you’ll be able to browse through categories of bots, see featured bots and check out the ones you’ve recently used.
Discover will make it easier to find bots sure, but the feature seems to be more about re-emphasizing the chatbots medium.
Messenger has been known to be fast-and-dirty in trying new features, even more so than the core Facebook app, and for about a two-week period last year, they were heavily selling the idea of bots. The underlying tenets of chatbots are incredibly interesting, but they’ve just been so stupid that there hasn’t seemed to be a ton of use for them.
As the features move inside message threads with friends themselves, Facebook hopes that users will treat them more as utilities rather than voice assistant-style robots they can talk at.
Facebook has already begun adding chatbot-esque features into the DNA of Messenger through its “M” AI assistant, but the company wants to build out the platform to enable automated interactions between users and businesses as it looks to make Pages the more default online homes of brands and Messenger the way you communicate with them.
With the Discover platform launching, there’s surely going to be a lot more attention on chatbots; we’ll see whether developers give the platform another whirl or if the trend dies out.
Originally published at techcrunch.com on June 28, 2017.