Facebook is allegedly planning to reveal a new class of bots for Messenger to serve group chats.
TechCrunch reports that the big announcement will be made at the F8 conference and that the group bots are built to keep users informed about real-time news such as sports scores, e-commerce deliveries and more.
While Facebook cannot officially comment on the topic, TechCrunch cites three anonymous sources familiar with the development process. The social media giant is said to already be working with chatbot makers as they prepare for the big day.
The company also allegedly has plans to open up the APIs in order to allow more developers to build their own group bots too.
This could come in handy in certain circumstances. For instance, a Messenger group of football fans could add a bot to their thread where it could report score changes, big moments and other news. Another group bot could keep you and your co-workers informed about that pizza delivery you're waiting for at lunch.
Individual bots are already around
While the bot platform has been around for about a year now, Facebook hasn't really built up on it or gave it any real focus. Now, the company is set to make these group bots act as news tickers rather than pretend to be a human you're having a conversation with.
Facebook Messenger already has sports news bots from theScore and NBA's Sacramento Kings, as well as food-delivery bots like one from Domino's, but they haven't really lived up to their full potential. Now, as part of group chats, these bots will be easier to discover and easier to use.
In the current form, people need to type the name of a bot in the Messenger search box to start up a conversation, which means they're probably getting very little use. Businesses need to deploy strong marketing campaigns in order to make people remember the chatbot names so they can properly search for them, which isn't really a viable solution.
Exactly what form the new group bots will take remains to be seen. Since there are only a few weeks left until the F8 development conference, we won't have to wait too long.