Yahoo trying to stay ahead of the curve
Yahoo is making another well-planned move to stay on-trend with the Internet game. Yahoo plans to launch four of their most popular chatbots (weather, news, monkey, and finance) on a new platform. You may remember, we covered Yahoo’s recent launch of these chatbots on the popular messenger platform, Kik. They have been well-received as a way to help people learn how to use the services in a more conversational, trendy setting.
Chatbots definitely have advantages for things like immediate customer service responses (since Facebook times your responses), engaging your followers, or running special promotions (like games), but I’m not sure how long news and weather bots will remain relevant and engaging.
The greater majority of cell phone users engage with smartphones; smartphones have apps for news and weather that send notifications to the top of your screen (if enabled). However, it makes sense with so many people on Facebook Messenger, you want to keep them on the platform as long as possible, and using chatbots creates the potential to extend a user’s engagement, in my opinion.
What they’re bringing to Facebook Messenger
The news, weather, and finance bots from Yahoo are fairly self-explanatory; the monkey chatbot, or “virtual pets” chatbot, is a little bit different, however. The MonkeyPets chatbot, will give Facebookers the ability to send emojis to a virtual pet, which will then send a “selfie” back to the user as a form of two-way interaction. If you’re old enough to remember Tamagotchi’s or Gigapets, you’ll know what Yahoo is aiming for here.
The weather bot will function exactly as the Kik bot functions: it will show you the weather, temperature, and Flickr images to bring your desired forecast to life, right inside Facebook. The news bot will bring trending stories and news articles that can easily be shared with friends from inside the Messenger. The finance app is the new kid on the block. When Yahoo launched their chatbots on Kik, the finance option wasn’t included.
Exclusive to Facebook, this bot will provide stock market updates, trends, financial news, and games to help you keep an eye on your investments. As with the other bots, you can share this information with anyone you want right from Facebook Messenger.
Pretty cool, but there is some fierce competition
Currently, there are over 11,000 chatbots in the Facebook market, but Yahoo hopes launching their bots into the Facebook Messenger market will increase exposure for their services. Whether or not people will choose to interact with their bots over say, more mainstream bots like CNN and Poncho. People tend to have a preference for chat, weather, and finance tips; I’m not sure if Yahoo will be able to break the threshold and become a fan-favorite in the chatbot world or not, but one thing is clear: chatbots are the future, especially on Messenger.
Facebook has extensive developer tools for anyone interested in created a chatbot, so they obviously think they will only gain in popularity. What do you think? Will chatbots replace human responses, or are they just a cool new way to interact?