Facebook launches Bot Store – Are ‘Bots’ the new ‘Apps’?

Facebook has launched a ‘Bot Store’ that will reside within their popular Messenger app at their annual global developer conference (F8) this month. It has been spruiked by many as perhaps the most important launch since the App store in 2008 by Apple – with many brands rushing in to develop conversation style ‘bots’ that can essentially perform functions like their standalone app counterparts can do, all within Facebook Messenger.

Our take

Bots aren't a new phenomenon – most will remember Clippy, the much maligned Microsoft Office assistant from the early 90’s, or of course Siri – a much more sophisticated yet imperfect bot on the iPhone. Bot Stores aren’t new either - in China for example, millions of people have become accustomed to using the extremely popular messenger service WeChat to do everything from book hotels, shop online & pay utility bills. In the US & indeed Australia though, Bots & Bot Stores are in their infancy and it appears at the moment at least that developer interest in messaging/bots is far outpacing consumer interest. The potential for brands is without doubt immense but they’re going to have to get the integration & functionality exactly right to avoid widespread backlash as per what we saw with poor, ill-fated Clippy

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