10 Chatbots Getting Ready to Assist You on Facebook Messenger

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-04-14
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Chatbots Getting Ready to Assist You on Facebook Messenger
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    10 Chatbots Getting Ready to Assist You on Facebook Messenger

    Will chatbots prove effective enough to convince online marketers to deploy them in large numbers? We highlight some chatbots available now or coming soon.
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    HP Helps You Talk to Your Printer
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    HP Helps You Talk to Your Printer

    HP was one of the first large companies to join the chatbot craze. The company has developed HP Print Bot for Facebook Messenger, which allows users to "chat" with their printers from anywhere in the world. They can then print out whatever they send through Messenger, including a photo or text, to effectively eliminate traditional barriers to printing.
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    Talk About What's Happening With Poncho
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    Talk About What's Happening With Poncho

    Poncho is designed to get people information they care about as quickly as possible. After chatting with Poncho, the chatbot asks for a user's location. From there, a person can find out the movies playing in an area, see what the weather forecast looks like and even get recipes.
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    Get Some Questions to Your Woes With HealthTap
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    Get Some Questions to Your Woes With HealthTap

    HealthTap has become a popular way for people to connect with doctors about medical concerns. With its new Facebook Messenger chatbot, users can send a message to HealthTap. The app will then analyze the question and provide some related answers doctors have already provided through its Internet-based service. By just messaging HealthTap's chatbot, users have access to information offered by more than 100,000 U.S.-based doctors currently on the service.
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    Operator Makes It Easier to Shop
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    Operator Makes It Easier to Shop

    Operator has been working with text messaging for quite some time, but now it's expanding to Facebook Messenger. Users simply message the chatbot asking for some insight into gifts, trendy clothes and even event tickets. The chatbot then returns results to users so they can get whatever it is they're seeking.
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    A Personal Shopping Assistant From Spring
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    A Personal Shopping Assistant From Spring

    The personal shopping startup Spring has a chatbot designed to provide insight into what kind of clothes or shoes a user should buy. First, users ask Spring for some help finding something. The app then asks for a price range and other information, and seeks out results. Users are able to make a purchase from within the app or ask more questions until they get their desired results.
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    Assist Tries to Help Folks Do a Little of Everything
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    Assist Tries to Help Folks Do a Little of Everything

    Assist is designed to be little more than an automated helpline. The company has partnered with several firms, including Uber for car service and Great Clips for haircuts, and makes it easy for users to get what they want, when they want it. With the chatbot, users can ask for a car to pick them up at a particular location, and the chatbot will respond with an Uber order. Users can also ask the chatbot to send flowers and book a hotel stay.
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    Send Loved Ones Items With 1-800-Flowers
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    Send Loved Ones Items With 1-800-Flowers

    The popular 1-800-Flowers is also one of Facebook's early chatbot partners. After messaging the company's account through Messenger, users can ask questions about different options and place an order. In a statement, 1-800-Flowers said that its chatbot is "the new quick and easy way to shop" with its service.
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    A Positive Spin on Food and Drink
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    A Positive Spin on Food and Drink

    Sure is all about finding users "food and drink that you can feel good about." In other words, it tries to match a person's intent for the evening with their personal values. The company's Messenger chatbot asks users where they'd like to go for the evening. It will deliver a result based on a person's preference. In its example, the company shows a person chatting with its bot asking for a "vegan-friendly" lunch spot. Sure returns the favor by offering a brief description on the restaurant and why it's a good place to go.
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    Solve Some Crimes With Detective Kees
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    Solve Some Crimes With Detective Kees

    Even gaming has found a way to use Facebook Messenger's chatbot. With Detective Kees: Probable Cause, users can start chatting "in-game" with its chatbot. The goal is to help Detective Kees solve murders as part of his police force's Criminal Investigation Unit. Ongoing communication is critical to being successful in Detective Kees: Probable Cause. And chatbots are all about communication.
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    LivePerson Plans Its Big Push
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    LivePerson Plans Its Big Push

    LivePerson is one of the many companies yet to deploy a chatbot to Facebook Messenger, but said it has plans to do so. The customer service company said it will integrate chatbots with its LiveEngage platform. LivePerson clients, as well as LivePerson itself, will use chatbots with LiveEngage to handle customer inquiries and respond quickly. However, the company noted that the chatbots will be used in tandem with humans, so if chatbots can't solve customers' problems, they will be transferred to a human agent.
 

At its F8 developers' conference this week, Facebook announced that its Messenger platform will now allow companies to connect with users via chatbots—applications designed to simulate intelligent machine-to-human conversations. With chatbots, companies can automatically respond to user queries and provide services, such as placing an order or printing a document. Yet chatbots' future is uncertain. Although some analysts say chatbots could provide new Web commerce opportunities for companies, others wonder if chatbots will prove to be faddish toys. Ultimately, their fate will come down to whether they will prove effective enough to convince online marketers to deploy them in large numbers. Right now, many believe chatbots will prove effective. In fact, Facebook announced April 12 that it has partnered with several companies, including HP and HealthTap, to deliver chatbots. For now, Messenger's chatbots are being developed and deployed by startups, though big companies, including Bank of America, are planning to join the fray. This slide show highlights some of the chatbots available now or coming soon and what users can expect when they try them out.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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