Facebook rolls out Messenger 2.0 featuring more branded bots and a new discover tab

Facebook has launched the second version of its Messenger Platform, with Spotify and Apple Music to add bot services to the app, and a new virtual assistant being introduced to users.

In a blog post on the social media site’s newsroom, Facebook outlined its latest changes to Messenger, namely a new Discover tab, messenger codes, chat extensions, increased game play, assistance for small businesses and M, the platform’s virtual assistant.

David Marcus, vice president of Messenger: “Last F8, we opened the Messenger Platform to the global community of developers.

“Since then, we have listened and learned a lot, and we’re thrilled to see it become a thriving channel for brands, developers and consumers to connect with each other and the things they love.”

The first of the new additions to Messenger is the Discover tab, which will allow consumers to find recently used bots, explore experiences such as businesses’ locations and services, as well as search for content.

Messenger codes have also been added, allowing people to find out more information from a bot whilst attending sporting and music events, by scanning a code into the Messenger camera.

A Discover tab on the Facebook application has also recently been trialed, featuring recommended videos and stories based on what a consumer finds in their current News Feed.

The new Discover tab 

Commenting on the introduction of chat extensions, Marcus said they will “enable multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time”.

“If you are excited to share the newest song you love, you can now add a bot directly in a group thread and share the conversation and experience with your friends.

“We think that this will enable people to virally share bots. You can currently find favourite brands like Spotify, TheScore, OpenTable, Food Network, NBA, Wall Street Journal and Kayak — with many more on the way,” he said.

Twelve months ago, when Facebook announced the launch of bots for MessengerDomain was the first Australian company to jump on board, allowing users to search for properties through the app.

Since then, other brands including Qantas and The ABC have launched bots to interact and engage with consumers.

Last month, a study conducted by The Works and specialist messaging business On Message revealed almost half of Australians under 25 are using messaging applications as their main communication source.

The latest move by Facebook suggests more of a focus on getting brands to engage with consumers through bots.

The chat extension will allow streaming services, and other information to become a part of a group conversation

Messenger 2.0 will also offer more bot services, including game bots, to give advice and guidance for those playing turn-by-turn and single-user games on the platform.

Streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music will also allow users to listen to songs through bots in the latest Messenger app.

A virtual assistant named ‘M’ has also been added to Messenger, whose role will be to make suggestions in conversations to make life “simpler”.

“These include fun stickers to say “thank you”, a reminder to meet up with a friend, or an easy way to pay someone back or get paid via peer-to-peer payments,” Marcus explained.

“Powered by artificial intelligence, M recognises when people are doing specific tasks and provides helpful suggestions.”

The developers are also helping small businesses in Messenger 2.0, creating services and helping them interact with customers.

“Small businesses benefit greatly from having messaging turned on so they can interact with and provide service to their customers as quickly as possible.

“Today, we’re launching the ability for Pages to respond to the most frequently asked questions, such as business hours, directions and contact details. Powered by our AI bot engine,, Smart Replies offers an API that enables businesses to create an AI-powered responder to these types of FAQs,” he wrote.

An example of Facebook Messenger’s ‘Smart Replies’

The final announced component of Messenger Platform 2.0 will allow more codes to be inserted in each bot, allowing developers to create different experiences for a given brand through Messenger.

“We’ve provided a way for businesses to work with multiple developers for different experiences on Messenger,” Marcus said.

“For example, a business might want to have a personal shopping bot and also a customer service bot. Different vendors and developers will be able to manage the conversation for the use case the customer is requesting.”

“We know that developers will continue to create amazing and powerful experiences for people all over the world, and we’re excited to see these come to fruition,” Marcus said of Messenger 2.0’s launch.

“The team here at Messenger is dedicated to supporting all of this potential; we’d like to thank our community, and as always, please let us know what you think.”


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