Facebook launched Messenger 2.2, which it said will offer developers and businesses new ways to reach their customers and deliver higher quality messages.
One of the features, which Facebook said in an announcement was highly requested, is a chat plugin. The function is in closed beta for now, but once deployed will “extend the Messenger experiences” onto businesses’ websites.
Users can chat with businesses on their websites and in Messenger across web, mobile and tablet, and transition back and forth seamlessly without losing the conversation’s history and context.
The plugin is compatible with platform capabilities including payments, natural language processing (NLP) and rich media. Messenger’s built-in NLP, launched in July is now available in ten more languages including Chinese, Dutch and French.
“To ensure the Messenger web experience is as feature-rich as the Messenger App, we will continue to add new capabilities as the platform expands,” the company stated.
Beta partners launching this week include Air France, Argos and KLM.
“More conversations between people and businesses will migrate towards messaging platforms. We are trying to be part of that move,” said Stan Chudnovsky, VP of product, Facebook Messenger (pictured) at Web Summit, an annual technology conference taking place in Lisbon this week.
He said there are now over 100,000 developers building conversational user interfaces inside Messenger, a small number compared to the 6 million advertisers in Facebook’s ecosystem, but still a lot more than it started with in 2015.
Chudnovsky stated combined experiences (letting the bot handle simple conversations with a human taking over if things get complicated) have really taken off when it comes to chatbots so far.
Messenger 2.2 will also enable businesses to incorporate user actions including a share button on videos and images, and making it easier for them to view feedback.
Businesses will also be able to notify users of updates on the status of, for instance, a job application, and send notifications when a solution to a request is found.
Facebook also expanded its Messenger payments feature into its second market, 28 months after the service was launched in the US.
Meanwhile sponsored messages for Messenger, previously only available to a small number of advertisers, can now be used by more businesses to send relevant promotions directly to users with whom they have already communicated.