Facebook today released the latest version of its Messenger Platform for the deployment of automated bots, which includes a Customer Chat Plugin SDK to give developers greater control of Facebook Messenger conversations.
Currently in beta, the Customer Chat plugin was introduced in closed beta last year and gives Facebook Page administrators the ability to chat with visitors to a webpage. Giving businesses more choices to chat in real time with customers via web browsers was emphasized by Facebook with the release of Messenger 2.3 in February and version 2.2 last fall.
Messenger Platform 2.4 also allows users to upload attachments when chatting on a website, and it can tell users when you’ve read their message.
The latest version of the Messenger Platform also allows developers to use the Broadcast API to send scheduled non-promotional messages to a large number of your page followers or bot users.
Messenger Platform 2.4 launches following Facebook’s F8 2018 developer conference, held last week in San Jose, California. New features announced at F8 include augmented reality for Messenger bots, and new tools for Facebook Pages to further customize and strengthen Wit.ai natural language processing.
The release of Messenger Platform 2.4 also follows Google’s release of Duplex, conversational AI that can make phone calls to schedule an appointment or make a reservation on a customer’s behalf.
Google’s new robocalls are still an experiment, but may someday compete with Messenger Platform, WhatsApp Business, Apple’s Business Chat, Microsoft’s Azure Bot Service, Salesforce’s Einstein bot platform, and a variety of other conversational services tech companies are providing to redefine how customers and businesses communicate with each other.