At its F8 conference this week, Facebook unveiled a new API called the Send and Receive API that lets users create bots for Messenger that are capable of searching the internet and interacting with businesses.
The company also showed off Bot Engine which is its more powerful bot framework that can create bots that take advantage of machine learning to create scenarios that are more complex.
Bot Engine is based on the work of the company Wit.ai that Facebook acquired last January. The company used Wit.ai's platform to build M for Messenger which is a personal digital assistant that works inside its messaging app to complete tasks and find information.
The Send and Receive API will be more than enough for the average user. However, if a user wants to build bots that are more complex than they will have the ability to do so using Facebook's Bot Engine.
Bots created using Bot Engine can be upgraded over time which will give developers the chance to further improve the bots they have created using consumer feedback. These bots will also have a more natural feel and the experience of interacting with one will be more akin to having a conversation with a human than with a machine.
The Bot Engine will be live from today and it will be interesting to see the bots developers and tech savvy users can create with it. Microsoft recently unveiled its own bot platform in the form of its Skype Bot SDK to help businesses create conversational bots to interact with consumers over Skype.
It looks as though the days of unintelligent bots that were merely able to perform simple tasks are over.