Facebook Messenger in its current form is a huge success, as it sits with more than a billion users per month and more than 300 million using it for voice chat or video calls. This is a big deal for the company, and, given such massive success, how can Facebook further improve the service?
Facebook is constantly looking for ways to keep netizens on the platform. The company wants to create its own little internet within the wider internet, and one way to do that is to have users pay for items from within Facebook Messenger without having to go elsewhere.
David Marcus, Facebook's VP of messaging products, took the stage at TechCrunch: Disrupt in San Francisco on Monday, Sept. 12, to talk about the plans his company has in mind to improve its messenger service.
The idea is to allow developers to use tools to create bots that can accept payments directly from Facebook Messenger. The ability to make payments from within the messenger app should make purchasing goods more seamless for users, and minimize abrasion.
Credit and debit card information will be stored on Facebook or Facebook Messenger. Furthermore, the information can be used instantly via bots whenever needed. At the moment, the service is in beta and will be rolled out to 34,000 developers who have united around the platform.
At launch, there were 18,000 bots; now the system is home to more than 33,000 bots. However, despite the number of bots, companies and users on the platform, it won't be making much money for Facebook right away.
As to whether or not bots are stable enough for making monetary transactions, well, that's still left to be seen. In recent times, folks have come across many bugs on Facebook Messenger that have made the bots unusable at times.
Interestingly enough, Marcus knows of this problem and told TechCrunch that changes will be put into place to improve the experience of Facebook Messenger as regards the bots.
"The problem was it got really overhyped, very, very quickly," he said. "The basic capabilities we provided at the time weren't good enough to basically replace traditional app interfaces and experiences."
Developers were not given the right resources and enough time to make their bots shine, but Facebook has no plans to allow such mistakes to happen again.
For bots to work on Facebook Messenger as intended, it will all come down to developers. So far, most bots are used to deliver news, but that might not be enough to keep the platform afloat.
Photo: Sarah Marshall | Flickr