LOS ANGELES — At its annual conference for software developers in 2016, Facebook trumpeted chat bots as the next big thing in tech.
A year later, users of Facebook Messenger are still waiting.
In reality, chatbots are “entering the market rapidly,” according to Gartner.
Chatbots have a wide appeal for both everyday consumers and users, but also the businesses that include bots into their mobile app strategies.
The idea is that a bunch of sports fans could bring in a bot offering score updates, or friends could welcome the Domino’s Pizza bot where everyone could chime in together on what kind of pizza to order. We spend many minutes and even hours conversing with our friends in Messenger, where folks can already use the app to pay for goods and request a ride from Uber or Lyft.According to a report (Humanity in the Machine) from media and marketing services company Mindshare, 63 percent of people would consider messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a business or brand.A survey conducted by myclever Agency found that they would use chatbots to obtain “quick emergency answers.” Online chat and messaging apps are the preferred way for 29 percent of people to contact retailers when making a purchase decision, according to 7.Chat bots, those automated robots that respond to human queries, had an underwhelming debut. They didn't catch on with consumers, and critics were unkind.But Facebook hasn't given up.“We’re doubling down and tripling down on bots,” David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products told USA TODAY last week.