Facebook announced a plethora of new features for Messenger at their F8 conference yesterday.
Major emphasis was on the chat bots which got off to a rocky start on launch last year. To increase their popularity, the social media giant is trying to make them easier to find and use.
Here’s a list of changes made to Messenger.
Tapping on the new hexagon lightning marked button will take you to the Discover tab. You can access different businesses and services directly from there, each with their own bot. It’s sort of like an app store for chat bots. Tap on one to start chatting with them directly. You can search for them or view the featured bots on the main “Discover” page.
Facebook is aiming to make Messenger a one-stop shop for everything. You won’t need to switch apps to share something directly with your chat group.
For example, if you want to share a song with your friends, tap on the + icon on the bottom left inside a chat. There you can see the Spotify extensions through which you can share a particular album or song with your friends. If someone doesn’t have a Spotify account, they will only be able to listen to a small clip of the song while others can hear the whole thing.
Same goes for ordering food, looking for restaurants etc. Google Assistant in Allo does the same thing though.
New Suggestions from M
Speaking of ordering food, Messenger’s own M assistant is now integrated with delivery.com. If you talk about food in your chat, M will automatically show up offering suggestions about where to order it from.
If your friend asks you for money, M will come up again showing you Facebook’s payment methods for sharing cash. In a sense, M will always be there reading your conversations, watching what you share or talk about and intervene whenever necessary.
It sounds like breach of privacy but it’s purely optional, you can disable M if you want to.
No more fumbling for the camera app for scanning random QR codes. You can do it directly from the Messenger app and then some. There are special Messenger QR codes you can scan to connect to branded bots. Its not that big of a feature but its a nice addition nonetheless.
Like the discover tab added to the home screen, Facebook is adding a game tab as well (the game controller icon). With that its adding support for turn-based games on Messenger where people from your conversations can each take turns to make their moves.