As anticipated for weeks now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of a chatbot store for the social network’s Messenger platform during his keynote speech at the F8 developers conference.
“We think you should just be able to message a business, the same way you message a friend,” said Zuckerberg. “And you shouldn’t have to install a new app.” He described Bots for Messenger as a natural-language service. “To order flowers on 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again.”
Fast Company senior editor Harry McCracken, who is attending the conference, noted that “much of Facebook’s game plan for Messenger is closely modeled on what China’s WeChat has been doing for a long time.” Facebook says Messenger now has 900 million monthly users.