A short recap of the 2019 F8 conference
F8 is Facebook’s annual, two-day developer conference in San Jose, California, in which the social network usually announces plans for its key initiatives as well as updates to its products. At the event, we got a glimpse into the future of Facebook and Instagram. Despite being branded as a developer event, F8 is also an important event for all of us – Facebook and Messenger users.
At F8, Facebook has announced that developers have created more than 300,000 bots on the Messenger bot platform! That’s up from a 100,000 bots milestone reached last year.
The 200% growth in chatbot market is opening new opportunities around. Businesses and prospects now trade 8 billion messages a day through Messenger, up from 2 billion this time last year.
That clearly indicates the importance of Messenger in the Facebook ecosystem. Perhaps that’s why at this year’s F8, Messenger was the first topic brought up after Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech, which isn’t typical. It also indicated that there are going to be tons of exciting new and upcoming Messenger features to explore. If your business uses (or is considering using) chatbots, you’ll want to hear about these.
So here are the major announcements for Messenger & chatbot users from Facebook’s F8 keynote this year:
Booking appointments is one of the most important use cases for businesses on Messenger. That’s why Facebook is developing its new Appointment Booking API. It will allow a frictionless integration with many scheduling services (eg. Calendly), so businesses can let users schedule appointments directly in Messenger. It will also make it much easier for hotels to sell different services for their guests directly through their Messenger chatbot!
Facebook has announced a new, dedicated desktop app for Messenger, expanding the potential use cases for the app. In our opinion, Facebook should have made this step a long time ago (considering how broken some UI elements appear on the online interface), and we think that this will give users a good reason to stick with Messenger.
The company also highlighted Project LightSpeed — a lightweight Messenger app built atop an entirely new code base. It will make Messenger faster and more reliable and improves its load time on all devices. This news is especially important for companies that are building Messenger chatbots in developing countries. Many of their users are currently using Messenger Lite (a lighter, limited version of the app), that lacks important functionalities such as quick replies and galleries.
Facebook didn’t share many details about this at F8, but we did learn that users will eventually be able to message friends from any of Facebook’s platforms (Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) with ease. Although the details are not clear yet, but it’s definitely good news both for users and businesses. A shared platform means easier communication without the hassle of using multiple apps and accounts.
Facebook hasn’t had a good year in respect to its users’ data, and clearly, regaining that lost trust is a big priority.
“The future is private.” That was the key refrain from Zuckerberg and other Facebook representatives on stage. They told viewers that, if they could rebuild Facebook from the ground up today, they’d focus on messaging because it’s more intimate and provides a powerful connection. Zuckerberg outlined six core principles that he plans to embed across the company’s products:
Private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.
Unfortunately, we don’t know (yet) when will this privacy-focused version of Facebook rolls out.
These updates are all a clear sign that for Facebook messaging is more important than ever. And that’s great news for all of us.
Companies can take advantage of the newly announced features (like the appointment booking API), while users can enjoy an enhanced Messenger experience, and feel more secure about their personal information.
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