11,000 bots now live on Facebook Messenger after just three months

facebook messenger 10000 bots chatbots
There are now 11,000 bots on Facebook Messenger, just three months after the platform was announced. This means the nearly one billion users of that chat platform have plenty of scripts to talk to, assuming they’re already sick of chatting with each other.

Developers, always hungry for more attention from Facebook’s dedicated user base, have been quick to jump onto the Messenger bot bandwagon. There are bots you can ask about the weather or about today’s headlines, and bots that you can actually buy things from. But The Verge, and other sites, are asking a question: Is anyone actually chatting with these things?

Facebook, in part to answer these challenges, pointed out a few success stories. The Disney film Zootopia, for example, launched a bot that allowed users to chat with protagonist Judy Hopps. Millions of messages were sent, and the average user spent several minutes in conversation with the computer-animated rabbit.

The NBA’s official bot, which shows highlights on demand when users ask for them, also drove quite a bit of engagement, according to Facebook. There were over 350,000 interactions during the NBA finals and draft. Those numbers are nothing compared to the number of Tweets and Facebook posts sent during those same events, but it’s a fascinating test case nonetheless.

Messenger’s bot platform is just three months old, and it’s likely that the killer use case for this technology hasn’t been invented yet. Maybe there is a use case for IM bots that is so mind-bogglingly useful that it will cause users everywhere to start chatting with them regularly.

And certainly brands could benefit by jumping into spaces previously occupied by chat between friends and family. The timeline has already been invaded with quite a bit of success, so why not colonize the chat space?

But to do that, bots are going to have to be really, really compelling. Asking a bot about the weather needs to be easier than opening up your weather app, and asking about the news needs to work consistently enough that people bother to chat instead of search. It will be interesting to see what sort of solutions developers come up with.

Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Smart Home

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Which one is better for you?

What happens when you compare the Google Home vs the Amazon Echo? Both smart speakers have good qualities, but what happens when you compare they're features side-by-side? We think one of these smart gadgets wins over the other.

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.

Singapore Airlines passengers unsettled by cameras in seat-back displays

A number of passengers flying with Singapore Airlines recently expressed concern over cameras embedded in seat-back displays on some of its aircraft, though the carrier insists the devices have been disabled.

Intel expects Apple to transition Macs to ARM processors in 2020, report says

It has been rumored for some time that Apple could transition away from Intel to ARM processors, but a new report now claims that Intel is aware of the decision and that it could happen in 2020.

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.

The rumors were true. Nvidia’s 1660 Ti GPU, a $280 powerhouse, has arrived

Nvidia has officially launched the GTX 1660 Ti, its next-generation, Turing-based GPU. It promises to deliver all the performance and efficiency for all modern games, but without stepping into the high price range of the RTX series. 

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 

Limited-time sale knocks $500 off the price of the Razer Blade Pro 17

Looking for an ultra-powerful laptop for yourself or someone else? You're in for some luck. Razer is running a sale on some of its best gaming laptops, cutting down pricing on the Razer Blade 15 and the Razer Blade Pro 17. 
Emerging Tech

Engineer turns his old Apple lle into an wheeled robot, and even gives it a sword

How do you give new life to a 30-year-old computer? Software engineer Mike Kohn found a way by transforming his old Apple IIe into a wheeled robot. Check it out in all its 1980s glory.