Say hello to MoneyPenny, your new personal assistant from Facebook : Regions

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Messenger Latest Update to Take on Google Now, Cortana and Siri.

On a typical day, I’ll chat with colleagues on Slack. Facebook has made another move to decouple its mobile messaging service from the social networking website co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, and potentially set up a sibling rivalry with WhatsApp, another popular messaging tool that Facebook owns. However, the latest version of Facebook Messenger now lets the users from all over the world to sign up for an account without the need of a Facebook account. The competition for social space has really stiffened up recently and it seems this social media giant is working hard on ensuring that their app stays on top of the charts.

To look at these numbers another way, Facebook’s other apps collectively amassed 637.5 million downloads—about 9 million fewer than Messenger alone. The service has been available to users in North America, Peru and Venezuela since last month but is now global, David Marcus, a Facebook vice president, said on Thursday. Thought-leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today. Instead, it was only a tactic meant to eliminate any form of completion that would arise from the app or any company that would think of buying the app. The move comes after the popular social networking tool added a payment system in March for its Messenger users in the United States, enabling them to use their debit cards to transfer money among themselves.

For this group, the goal of building apps like Paper (a de-cluttering app for reading news stories shared by friends), Slingshot (its Snapchat copycat), or Rooms (chat rooms) isn’t necessarily to drive downloads, but to glean insights that might eventually inform the Facebook experience. It is unclear whether Facebook will extend the system to other countries, or if it is interested in targeting the Asian market for online mobile payments. The latest news on the street reveals that Facebook Messenger will soon be receiving an update that will make it work more like Siri, Google Now or Cortana. Some of what the company learned from Paper, for example, ultimately shaped Facebook’s instant articles, a feature for news organizations to publish directly on the social network. Internet consultancy iResearch expects the market for third-party mobile payments, including e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Alipay, will hit 11.9 trillion yuan (US$1.9 trillion) by 2017 in China alone.

This is one thing that has made this instant messaging app very popular in the world as it makes the process of signing up and finding friends on the platform extremely easy. It’s interesting to remember people’s outrage last year when Facebook removed chatting capabilities from its flagship app, forcing those who wanted to message their friends on mobile to download the standalone Messenger app.

Messaging app WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, said it had 800 million active monthly users as of April, while WeChat reported 549 million monthly active users in May. However, one huge question that many will be asking is how this feature will work and how similar or different it is from its competitors, Siri, Cortana and Google Now.

Although terms like “conversational commerce” and “invisible apps” have floated around the web recently, neither is quite right for describing what I’m seeing. As Facebook readies its Messenger Platform for primetime, making Messenger more accessible and perhaps more enticing to people (who might opt not to download Messenger because they dislike the standalone app) is going to be crucial.

In this way, it will be easier to still monitor your conversations and respond to them from devices that can access Facebook and have no support for Facebook Messenger. Instead, I propose “assistant-as-app” to mean: an interface designed to enable users to accomplish complex tasks through a natural dialogue with an assistant.

In the recent past, we have seen Facebook expand its trust in the Messenger app as an independent platform rather than just another of its many detachments of the social media’s primary network. If Facebook hadn’t split out Messenger, most of these things would have been trickier to incorporate, or would’ve easily gotten lost, within the main Facebook app. However, we won’t be surprised to see the company hiring its own community to take care of these requests by users as well as employ a fleet of tracks to take care of the deliveries of goods. To continue Messenger’s momentum, the company built a web version for browsers, and in June opened up registration so that people without Facebook accounts can also use the app. The assistant can process requests that would otherwise require several steps, complex analysis, or pro tools the layperson is unlikely to have the knowledge or patience to use.

After several failed attempts to get through the automated voice response, I called out my request in a mechanical, over-articulated, robot-sounding voice. “REP-REE-ZENT-A-TIV,” I said, sounding like Robby the Robot. “OK, let me get someone to help you with that,” the automated voice finally responded, although I wasn’t sure if by “that” she meant my credit card problem or my weirdo-who-speaks-like-a-robot problem. Either route users to a fully automated prompts (like an annoying call routing robot), send them to human helpers, or (the most common solution) ask them to fend for themselves on the company’s website.

Though the cost of hiring a human assistant has been out of reach to-date, the costs will soon plummet as the number of users served per assistant increases. According to a recent survey by Carat, a global media agency, “41% of people feel overwhelmed by the wealth of choices on the web, making it hard for them to make purchase decisions. However, there are plenty of opportunities to use an assistant-as-app where the user has to weed through too many choices, particularly in enterprise applications. I envision a future where complex tasks, like running a marketing campaign to increase site traffic or launching a coupon offer, are executed by an assistant.

Instead of asking the busy user to navigate a complicated interface, an assistant-as-app will do the heavy lifting and offer up just a few of the best options. Instead of hiring someone with these rare talents, specially trained assistants could use the latest tools to continually run tests to increase conversion rates. Texting is fine on phones, but as smart watches cross the chasm into mainstream adoption, users need a better way to interact with companies through their wrist-worn devices. Although improvements in artificial intelligence will help assistant-as-app services reduce costs over time, a highly adept human assistant working with increasingly sophisticated technology, will be the way consumers interact with an array of services in the years to come.

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