It seems tech companies will be more focused on bringing artificial intelligence to their services this 2016.
While there is news of Google working on a new AI-based chat app, it seems M will not be the only piece of AI-focused addition to Facebook Messenger.
According to sources close to the social networking giant, it seems some developers have been given a trial version of Chat SDK such that they can come up with interactive bots as far as shopping, restaurant and travel reservations, among others, are concerned.
With the help of the unannounced Chat SDK, Messenger developers will be able to build bots that can be sent messages by users and they respond with the information the users asked them, be it text, images, product pricing, mapping services and more. By tapping into Facebook’s Messenger app, the Chat SDK will be able to let the users make payments with the help of bots. An example of a bot possibly built on the Chat SDK is Assist, which offers the users of Messenger with interactive bot functionality.
At the moment, Facebook has yet to go public about this revelation, but sources say that the select developers have been given the Chat SDK documentation via PDF files.
A response to Google’s AI-focused chat app
As mentioned at the beginning, there is news that Google is working on a new AI-based chat app that also makes use of chat bots. Speculations are that Google is working on ways to beat Facebook’s M with these chat bots; however, now that Facebook is secretly testing the Chat SDK for building similar bots, it remains to be unclear what the social networking giant is up to.
It is odd for Facebook to help developers come up with something that works similar to its own M as well as let it be used within Messenger, just like M. But given that the goal of Mark Zuckerberg is to make Messenger a unique communication platform, such things are very possible. Third party developers could just be what Facebook needs to give its Messenger app the super powers it needs, to beat competition from other platforms.
Facebook is blocking the way for WeChat
What Facebook is trying to implement on its chat app has already been implemented in other parts of the world, namely Asia. Apps such as WeChat and LINE have more than just chat services. WeChat, for instance, offers its users with services such as ordering a taxi, making a payment, buying tickets, paying bills and even making air travel reservations, among others.
With the help of bots, WeChat has been able to make life convenient for more than 600 million people who use it, with at least 70% coming from China. Despite enjoying such huge popularity in China and Asia, WeChat has yet to make a mark in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Just recently, it launched its first major service outside of China, taking its WeChat Wallet services to South Africa.
Now that Facebook Messenger seems to be aligning itself as WeChat of the West, it will be very hard for this amazing app to make a mark in the American market. Nonetheless, the company isn’t giving up as just last year; it splashed out $50 million investment money to Canadian start up, Kik, with a bid to make this chat app the WeChat of the West.