David Marcus, Facebook Messenger: the bots platform will live up to its promise

David Marcus, Facebook Messenger: the bots platform will live up to its promise

Facebook has announced its Messenger bots can now accept payments natively, without redirecting users to external sites.

The announcement was made by David Marcus, head of Facebook Messenger, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, as he unveiled the launch of the Messenger platform v1.2.

“Inside a thread you have identity, transaction capabilities, the ability to draw UI, and draw native buttons and interfaces,” TechCrunch quotes Marcus. “We’re bring all these types of experiences together.”

Furthermore, all types of news feed ads can point to the bots and users can share bots they enjoy with their friends, TechCrunch reports. Developers can build web views into conversations that’ll pull in interfaces from their sites. So instead of the bot interaction happening through text, a user can check flights, consume media and “even play basic games” while still in the chat window.

The credit card information stored by users in Facebook or Messenger can be used to instantly make purchases in bots that are part of the new closed beta the developers can apply for, Marcus said.

Facebook unveiled this initiative in April. Since then, 34,000 developers have joined the platform and built 30,000 bots.

TechCrunch reports that Facebook is collaborating with “all the major players in the industry” on the project, including Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Overhyped and undercooked
When the bot platform was unveiled earlier this year, “it got really overhyped, very, very quickly”, Marcus explained. “The basic capabilities we provided at the time weren’t good enough to basically replace traditional app interfaces and experiences.”

The new version of Facebook Messenger will hopefully address the issues and help the platform to “live up to its promise”. Marcus admitted that it was somewhat undercooked at launch, as developers did not have enough time or resources to create bots that could match (and surpass) the experience of their web/mobile app counterparts.