New Delhi: Facebook has introduced a number of new features for its Messenger platform, allowing developers to create more powerful and engaging bots.
The Messenger Platform is now in version 1.4. The most significant change is that Facebook is giving developers the option to permanently hide the compose window. This means that a developer will not have to interpret all natural language strings as input, relying instead on a far simpler set of buttons.
Essentially, the change means that bots can now be made to appear more like traditional applications, with no need for a chat functionality to be built in.
Shared content from within bots can now have customised images, buttons and messages. The feature is similar to a preview that automatically appears when sharing a video or url over an instant messenger client. If users are sharing through a chatbot, the preview of the shared content can be customised by the developers to inform people about the context of a chatbot. Developers can now trigger the sharing process by using a button in their own user interface.
There are also deep links possible to the bots. For example, after playing a Trivia game, you can send the score to a friend, who can play the same game and share the score back to you. The shared messages can be used to initiate conversations with the chatbot, and reference parameters can be used to track different entry points for the conversation, leading to particular actions by the chatbot.
Now, Facebook offers better customer matching for businesses. Businesses can submit full names matched with phone numbers to Facebook, and Facebook will initiate chatbot conversations with the users who are known customers of a business.
Users will have the option to continue a conversation once initiated, or ignore it. Those who offered to opt-in for the content with the brands they were interested in, should now start seeing more content from these brands.