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Facebook updates Messenger bots with new features

This April, Facebook allowed developers to start creating chatbots for its Messenger service, which led to more than 11,000 bots arriving on the platform.

The idea was to automate interactions for businesses, allowing users to quickly order items online or use a particular service by chatting to a bot.

And now the company has introduced a raft of new features, allowing developers to add things such as star ratings and quick reply buttons to their bots.

The quick reply buttons will allow you to send speedy replies to the bot’s previous message, much like the new features announced by Google for its upcoming Allo messaging platform.

Related: Bots – Are they the future of the internet?

Messenger

There’s also a persistent menu option for bots which can be accessed by an icon in the message composer, and will support up to five custom actions.

The new menu makes the common ‘menu’ or ‘settings’ option that accompanies most bots, more consistent and easier to access.

Elsewhere, Facebook has given developers and companies the ability to send GIFs, video, and audio using their bots, all of which will play natively in Messenger.

And finally, you’ll now be able to rate bots in much the same way as you can rate individual apps on the Play Store, with a new star rating system.

Facebook says, since April, 23,000 more developers have signed up to use the Wit.ai engine, which is used to run the bot interactions.

You can check out a list of all the new Messenger bot features here.

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Are bots the future? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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