But Marsbot is important for other reasons, too. She represents a different kind of bot than the ones you see in Facebook Messenger — one that’s proactive rather than passive. She’s not a chatbot, but an interruptive bot. Crowley says that most other bots are in the model of Aladdin’s lamp: you invoke them and the genie appears. Marsbot is more in the Jiminy Cricket mode, hanging over your shoulder and chiming in when needed.
I’ve been testing out Marsbot the last few days, and I’m seriously impressed. I’ve been using the Ozlo bot for my random food suggestions based on location, time, preferences etc… and I’ve been happy with Ozlo.
However, Marsbot has something unique going on… it’s not a bot that waits for you. Rather, it’s proactive. If you’ve seen Her, you know immediately what I’m talking about.
Plus, it’s based on Foursquare’s accumulated data over the years, which is immense. Plus, it works in your text messaging app (iMessage if on Apple) where you’re used to getting personal updates or messages rather than going into another app on your device.
Interesting messaging bot for Facebook Messenger that was just released today. Once you add Shelfjoy to Messenger, you “chat” with it to discover books in various categories (or “shelves” as they call them). If you find something you like, you click “Buy” and you’re handed off to Amazon to complete the purchase with the Shelfjoy affiliate code.
We’ve been doing this sort of thing for a while with affiliate marketing and niche recommendations. I had a friend who developed a chat bot for AIM (remember that?) back in 2003 that gave you suggestions about products based on your chats. What we haven’t had is the ability to do so in format like Facebook Messenger that already has all of your social graph data (friends, likes, credit card etc) already tied in.
I expect to see more of these and more intelligent versions of these as Messenger and Google’s upcoming Allo and Siri / iMessage continue to become more “intelligent” and tied into our existing data profiles.
The bot era has officially begun. In a widely expected move, Facebook today announced tools for developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger, bringing a range of new functions to the popular communication app. Facebook believes Messenger can become a primary channel for businesses to interact with their customers, replacing 1-800 numbers with a mix of artificial intelligence and human intervention. If they are embraced by the general public — which is still far from certain — bots could represent a major new channel for commerce, customer support, and possibly even media.
Now, when you tap the More button in Messenger for iOS or Android, you’ll see Dropbox as an available source. With the Dropbox app installed on your phone, you can share any file in your Dropbox without having to leave the Messenger app.
“Is everything going to become a bot? I don’t think so. There’ll probably still be static apps for professional and authoring tools; Photoshop and CAD and Excel and Evernote aren’t going away; and video games will still be video games. Most of the squishy stuff in the middle, though, will go conversational. Anything that involves collaboration, communications, consumption, organization, etc. will probably become a bot. I think bots will replace 80% of what we use at work and half of what we use at home.”
As I’ve said before, it’s time for social organizations (churches, nonprofits, some businesses) to think through what the coming years of tech will bring… and one of the major revisions we’re going to see is the way we interact with tech. Messaging bots will be the driving force behind that.
When I use “messaging” and “bots,” I’m not referring to what we consider tools such as Facebook Messenger or Slack now. I’m also referring to interactions such as the voice driven Amazon Echo (or Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana etc). Bots will interact seamlessly with our lives from our music selections to our banking to the status of our HVAC home systems. Here’s a good rundown on bots from Re/Code.
There was a time when we thought software keyboards (such as on the now ubiquitous iPhone) would “never catch on.” The same with laptops. And a computer mouse. And color screens. And computers in your home. And punch cards.
Voice, gesture, and messaging bots will be the norm. Just as if you walk into our home now, the primary way to start playing music involves the salutation “Alexa,” followed by what you’d like to hear, rather than our previous practice just a few short months ago of having to go over to a computer keyboard and type in a search. It happened seamlessly and Amazon’s Echo, along with Siri, is just a sign of what’s to come.
Will everything we do with / on computers be taken over by bots and messaging? Of course not. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, some people need trucks but most everyone can get by with a car. You probably don’t launch Photoshop or complicated accounting software that often. If you do, don’t worry.
The point is, the way we interact with all of this tech we surround ourselves with is about to dramatically change. Think ahead for what that means for your business, church, group, and workflow.
“In case there was any doubt that messaging apps were the future of communication in the mobile-first era, a new study released this morning puts some solid numbers behind their traction – and their increasing dominance over email, among today’s youngest users. According to a report from App Annie, email is effectively dying among this crowd. Those aged 13 to 24 now spend more than 3.5 times overall usage time in messaging apps than those over 45 years old, while the older users still default to apps that replicate desktop functions, like email and web browsers.“
Forget building out an iPhone or Android app for your group, organization, or church. We’re (re)entering the age of messaging. If you want to remain (or become) relevant, you’re going to have to have a presence there.
Fear not, there are some great services out there such as AppyPie or Chatfuel to help you configure your messaging app (currently only works with Telegram but coming soon to Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Kik, Viber, and Slack).
But yes, messaging is the next iteration of social networking / SMS / email / web communications as we transition rapidly to a mobile-first computing environment… old conventions such as web browsers or email clients aren’t going to be the center of that experience, and neither will traditional “one size fits all” apps. Or as Chatfuel’s site says, “Chatbots are the new apps.”
Glad to see Dorsey shaking things up now that he’s back at the helm of Twitter.
Under previous CEO Dick Costolo and his team, Twitter was pivoted towards becoming a media / advertising company starting in 2010. The beloved API that allowed for a blossoming of third party apps and a vibrant ecosystem was turned off and there was a palpable feeling that the service had turned their back on devs and their tech base in favor of Ryan Seacrest.
They’ve never been able to monetize to satisfy investors following those paths and should focus on the real time streams / messaging nature of the service by becoming ubiquitous. That will come by opening up, rather than shutting down, that once vibrant ecosystem of services and apps that used the service as a backbone for a coral reef.
As I keep saying, messengers (Messenger, WeChat, iMessage, Hangouts, Line, Snapchat etc) are the future of social interaction on the web, so this is a big first step in North America (already happening in Asia just as texting, emoji etc developed there first).
Twitter needs to get its Direct Messaging app and product out there. Quickly.