Facebook may roll out Messenger group chatbots in the market this year

By @amunrhantareon on
A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015
A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 16, 2015 Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Facebook may eventually release Messenger group chatbots into its instant messaging service this year. The new feature may allow human users to communicate with various artificial intelligence (AI) bots at once. 

Chatbots are applications that "respond" to a user based on a pool of pre-made responses. Primitive versions of chatbots include Omegle. These chatbots can be programmed to "learn" responses based on their interaction with people.

The Facebook chatbots are said to be able to update users on real-time events and e-commerce deliveries. These bots can be modified depending on their purpose and can "talk" to the user if there are relevant updates in the subject.

For instance, a "sports bot" can report relevant news on certain games. Meanwhile, a "commerce bot" can keep workers updated on the company's progress. The social media giant is no stranger to individual bots. There are sports news bots and delivery bots that are available for users to enjoy.

However, these bots are not exactly easy to find. Users have to manually type a bot's name in Messenger in order to talk with them directly. This means businesses have to get a bot's exact name in order to talk with them. This may have led to the appearance of "bot browsers" like Botlist that compiles the list of bots found in a lot of applications. 

These Messenger group chatbots may appear in Facebook's Developer Conference (F8) on April 18 and 19, 2017 in California. However, according to Tech Crunch, no confirmation about this has been made. 

Meanwhile, other companies are already starting to tailor messaging applications to have various purposes. According to Medium, Tencent's WeChat has previously launched a so-called "application account" for its users in September 2016.

This new account type allows users to create a miniature application within WeChat's messaging service. These accounts were first made available to a range of closed beta testers. These "Mini App Accounts" are a modified version of features already present in WeChat accounts.

Users of the messaging service can already play games inside the application.The "Mini App Accounts" can allow businesses and other users to use HTML5 to build shops and other forms of "miniature applications" to their WeChat services. However, WeChat has not revealed when the feature will be rolled out to the public. 

Meanwhile, users of Mark Zuckerberg's brainchild will have to use the application's integrated messaging programme to chat with other users. The new update has a "My Day" function similar to Snapchat. The new version of the application can also allow users to integrate both chat inboxes and SMS inboxes. 

Facebook has not released an official statement about the Messenger group chatbots. There is also no news yet if social media giant Facebook is planning to make its own version of "Mini App Accounts."