eWEEKchat May 10: Messaging and Bots: Will They Kill Mobile Apps?

This will be a timely eWEEKchat conversation about an important use of new-gen technology in the nascent IoT age. Please join us.

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On Wednesday, May 10, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT, @eWEEKNews will host its 55th monthly #eWEEKChat. The topic will be, "Messaging and Bots: Will They Kill Mobile Apps?" It will be moderated by Chris Preimesberger, eWEEK's editor of features and analysis.

Some quick facts:

Topic: "Messaging and Bots: Will They Kill Mobile Apps?"

Date/time: May 10, 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. GMT

Tweetchat handle: Use #eWEEKChat to follow/participate, but it's easier and more efficient to use real-time chat room links.

Chat room real-time links: We have two: http://tweetchat.com/room/eweekchat and http://www.tchat.io/rooms/eweekchat. Both work well. Sign in via Twitter and use #eweekchat for the identifier.

'Messaging and Bots: Will They Kill Mobile Apps?'

Facebook, at its annual F8 developers' conference a while back, introduced a new Messenger Platform for developers that includes bots and a Send/Receive API. Indeed, a beta program for so-called chatbots was demoed.

By providing these new bot components, Facebook basically opened up its popular Messenger platform to make it possible for users to message businesses and buy products or services—not unlike messaging friends to arrange a night out at the movies.

Chatbots can provide anything from automated subscription content—such as weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications and live automated messages—all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them.

Chatbots will enable users to deploy Messenger to buy products and for businesses to sell items and offer customer support right on Facebook, instead of customers having to search for customer-service 800 numbers or find email support on specific Websites or apps.

Other chatbots will allow users to interact with online services, such as messaging a Google delivery courier to buy your groceries at Target or Safeway. News articles from your trusted news outlets can be sent to you in messages; you can order takeout food and have it delivered using Messenger.

"We think you should message a business just the way you would message a friend," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. "To order flowers on 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again.

These messaging applications replace Web or native apps on mobile devices. Facebook, and others sure to follow, want you to spend all your time on its site, bringing it ad dollars and enabling users to not have to bother downloading specific apps for specific buys.

Is this a good idea for social networks like Facebook and others to control the path of least resistance (which humans fall prey to every day) and become the hub of business? Facebook certainly is looking out for Facebook--nothing wrong with that. But what does this do to the budding "application economy" that is feeding the IT world right now?

Will this turn into the "chatbot economy" before we know it? Never underestimate the ability of people to take the simplest, easiest way to do anything, and if they can order food, flowers or a ride on their social nework, chances are they will.

These are just a few of the use cases and data points we'll talk about on May 10. We will pose questions such as:

--What do you personally see as the No. 1 business advantage of using messaging as a primary way to buy and sell?

--Where do you see messaging for business becoming a detriment to users, companies and the IT world?

--What other companies do you expect to become messaging players in 2016?

--Do you see, or do you not see, messaging for business becoming mainstream in 2016?

Join us May 10 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. GMT for an hour. Chances are good that you'll learn something valuable.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...