When Will Facebook Chat Bots Be Available?

Now that Mark Zuckerberg has announced the beta launch of his half-human, half-bot messenger service, the people want to know: when are Facebook chat bots available? Well, the answer is a bit complicated. Technically, the answer is now. While the launch is still in beta mode and has mainly made itself available for the sake of enticing new developers to get to work on creating some great bots, some bots are already in existence. Facebook reached out to a select group of businesses and publications to begin to experiment with the Messenger service. These established chat bots are available in the new Facebook update.

OK, OK, you want to meet these infamous bots, we get it. Make sure you're up-to-date on your updates and then do a search in your Messenger app for "Bots and Businesses" there you can find some of the aforementioned starter bots. As someone who hates talking on the phone, this new update is great news for me. There's nothing I hate more than dealing with customer service and there's nothing I like more than texting. With this new update, I can order my mother flowers and track them to make sure they get to her on Mother's Day, all with the tap of a finger. The chat bot is not dissimilar to the "Chat Now" function many websites have in lieu of customer service. The bot portion of the app is preprogrammed with FAQs and problem solving skills and the human portion of the app is what's called in to play to bridge the gap when necessary. You can type your questions into a Messenger bubble just as you would to your best friend.

It will probably be a few months before more of your favorite resources make themselves available to you as a chat bot and it will definitely take some trial and error before the system is foolproof. But because this update has now been introduced to the public, the best thing we can do as the public is to use the hell out of it so that they can use our feedback and user experiences to perfect it. As of right now, some of the already existing bots that might appeal to you are news sources like CNN, weather apps and shopping apps that will now double as personal shoppers. To give you an idea about the scope of this innovation, there are over 900 million users on Facebook Messenger and over 50 million businesses. So, in other words, expect to meet a lot of chat bots, but fret not, there's an off button.

Images: Facebook