What f8 Brought for us Today and What to Expect Further

mark on the big screenToday would be a bad day or a good one for Facebook, we will let the users decide. But, what we know for sure is that we are going to see robust changes in Facebook. Some of them are already visible to us in form of new “News feed” design, tickers, Friend Activity for brand etc.

You can read about them and their implications in our yesterday’s post. In the following we will look at the changes we can see on Facebook today and what do we expect f8 developers conference to bring for us.

So, here is a list of changes that we see, today

  • Recommend a page: Some our colleagues found a “write a recommendation for the page” dialogue box for the pages you have “Like”-ed. So what does it mean for brands? I feel this is another way of channelizing influences in the right direction. In simple words, if I know what my friends have to say about the brand –positive or negative, it would definitely alter my opinion. This recommendation would then show in my news feed, and then one “Like” can generate multiple likes. So this new addition has a great viral potential.

Recommend the page screen shot

  • Status Update: Other one is removal is the “Status box”. When you are ready to update your status from the news feed page, you must click “update status”, the omnipresent status box is no longer there. Sites like Twitter use that status update box to prompt you to type something in. Today we see word limit of status messages being increase to 5000 characters.
  • Remote Control: One other thing we can confirm: the unified music “remote control” on Facebook has been removed. This means that in order to control the music (play/pause/stop/next track/etc) you’ll have to switch windows to the music service itself. (source TechCrunch)

So you see any other changes in the profiles or pages? Do let us know, or share your screen shots, we would love to update ourselves!

Expectations:

  • Want button: In line with adding on to social commerce, it is predicted that Facebook would launch a “Want” button. Again works pretty well for brands!
  • Facebook Music: The “Listen with your friend” feature in ticker is expected, according to a tweet leak by a Facebook employee, which was deleted after couple of minutes. This feature would allow you to listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE!
  • Not only will all music you’re listening to appear in the just-launched right-side ticker, there will be a link to “Listen with your friend”, that when clicked, will allow you to listen along to the same song at the same time.
  • Mobile platform: F8 rumors also include more robust planning for mobile platform products for Facebook.
  • Social e commerce: We might see a push towards e-commerce, which could have us seeing more buying and selling between friends using Facebook Credits.

Facebook, being a platform which people love to hate. With the aim of making users integrate it in every sphere of life, Facebook would undergo major changes, as everyone says. So what do you expect out of f8 today?

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.