On Thursday Facebook launched Messenger Platform 2.1 with new and improved tools with new features aimed at developers and brands, and is designed to help them reach more potential customers. The new update comes with the backdrop of a successful run for Messenger Platform 2.0. The features include built-in natural language processing, new buttons, chat extensions for global pages, and more to help enhance communication between brands and consumers.
Wit.ai, a company Facebook acquired in 2015, will be providing natural language processing (NLP) technology for Messenger. Although Wit.ai has always been making NLP available to developers, in Messenger Platform 2.1, it will be available as a built-in feature that will even detect common words and phrases like "hello," "bye," "thanks," date & time, location, amount of money, phone number, and email addresses.
In terms of payments, version 2.1 also comes with a newly designed software development kit to make the payment process easier. Customers can now pay through a one step process simply through Messenger webview. However, payments through the platform are currently in beta and available only in the U.S. as of now.
Media reports quoted Messenger head David Marcus as saying, "We have more and more natural language interactions inside of messenger and we want to help third party developers, existing enterprise and customer support, and service centers automate a lot of those interactions, and a big requirement to automation is understanding what people are asking. So what we're doing right now is we have built-in NLP inside of the Send/Receive API that developers here are using, which means that you will get from the API the intent extraction that you need to automate responses, so it's a big, big deal. It's a little geeky, but it actually will enable automation at scale."
Other new features include enabling chat extensions for Global Pages — where businesses can build collaborative experiences — and policy enforcement notifications that notify developers when a bot has been blocked or if there is a policy issue.