Gradually, Facebook is turning Messenger into what they want it to be. The journey is still long, but they are living no one in doubt about their seriousness in making Messenger the best app in the world.
The latest chip or brick in the emerging structure of Messenger as ultimate one-stop app is the addition of payment service to the chatbots in Messenger.
This was one of the ‘needed-to-be-done‘ features that was already overdue because the chabots in Messenger had already started helping people process online payment. But before the introduction of this feature, the bots redirected users to websites outside Messenger where users can make online payments.
So in simple terms, when you want to make a payment while using Facebook Messenger, you won’t be redirected to an external payment portal in a different website. Chatbots can now process your payments directly inside Messenger.
But first of all, your credit cards details must have being captured in Facebook or Messenger before. It is these details the bots would use to make payments. So if you’d ever make in-app purchases in Facebook or Messenger, it means your card details have already being captured and you are set to go.
In a blog post titled ‘More Seamless, More Ways to Share, More Ways to Buy, More Context: Introducing Messenger Platform v1.2′ Facebook also informed the world that since bots for Messenger was announced at The F8, 30,000 bots have being developed by programmers around the world.
The number of developers that have joined since the introduction of the platform are more than the bots created though. We are talking 34,000 developers/programmers. All the same, that is an impressive number of developers and already developed bots in such a short space of time.
It clearly shows that many developers and businesses really belief in the potential of bots as the next drivers of softwares and apps
Writing about the bot payment option in the blog post, the Facebook Messenger team said:
We’re kicking off the beginning of messages with payments that will allow businesses to sell products and services directly to customers in Messenger. Customers can check out with a few easy clicks, without ever leaving the Messenger app. Merchants will be able to onboard with a simple self-serve onboarding flow. Developers can get more details here. Messages with payments — as well as payments through the enhanced Messenger mobile web view — will be available for some developers as a closed beta. Businesses and developers can apply to be included in this beta while we’re working to roll out this capability more broadly.”
Meanwhile, David Marcus, who happens to be the man of the moment as the head of the Messenger Team, used the Techcrunch Disrupt SF 2016 forum to throw more light on the new addition to Messenger bots.
He clarified that when making payments through Messenger, the accepted mode of payment is not restricted to just Stripe and PayPal alone as mentioned in the blog post. Facebook Messenger is also working with other major payment portals like Braintree, Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Other new developments the Messenger team is introducing include,
1.upgrading Facebook News Feed ads to include ads about bots Facebook users might find useful.
2.the ability for users to share interesting bots with their friends on either Facebook or Messenger
3.interacrioms with bots will no longer be restricted to just texts. Now Messenger users would be able to view web pages directly in the chat interface. Which means, while chatting with the bot, the information can be viewed on web pages displayed in Messenger without having to leave Messenger.
4.More importantly for developers, Facebook Messenger now has a system in place to guide and aid developers in creating bots. Another way of saying developers would be given as much time as possible to adjust to any new development in Messenger before the feature is introduced to the wider public.
In isolation, the features announced are not ground-breaking for Messenger. But a pattern is clearly emerging here: these small incremental additions to Messenger are leading to what would make Messenger a complete utility app for our smartphones.
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