8 areas where Messenger Chat Extensions will win
After launching Messenger bots at last year's F8 conference, Facebook is now going one step further by adding Chat Extensions to Messenger. This will open up the possibility to add bots to existing conversations, either group chats or one on one conversations.
This is a big step forward for the Messenger platform, on the one hand Chat Extensions will have the possibility to raise user engagement and on the other hand Chat Extensions can also function as a very good distribution channel to get new users.
Here are a few areas and ideas where Chat Extensions can disrupt:
Keeping track and collecting money from friends is always a pain. Someone has to pay in advance, it takes time to collect all the money from different payment options and of course there's always someone that "forgets" to pay.
Chat Extensions are the perfect helpers for these cases, think of group presents, parties, group orders or spendings in your household. Bots will help you keep track in a clear and transparent manner. And most importantly, no more excuses when it comes to paying or suddenly leaving the conversation because of an emergency. We see you, Darren!
✈ Travel + booking
If you are one of these people who like to travel in groups then this must be a common scenario for you: endless messages and links shared within your group, hopping back and forth between chats and various websites until a decision is finally made.
I personally hope that someone will build a group bot to help organize group travels and keep track of bookings. It can include many practical features such as suggesting the cheapest rates, nice hotels to stay in and also activities to do in the country you are traveling to - all from your group chat!
❓ Decision making
There are many people out there who have a hard time making decisions. Most of the time it's best to listen to yourself but there's nothing wrong with asking for help or gathering opinions of others.
Most people tend to ask their friends, whether it's just a small one like which outfit to buy or a big one like what to study. Chat Extensions can be the perfect tool to collect different views much faster so that you can gather all the information you need before you make your final decision. One good example for that is Swelly.
🗓 Organizing leisure time
Since the rise of messengers, group chats have been inevitable for most people. You have one with your family, close friends, co-workers, people who you don't know but are invited to the same event with, etc. Group chats not only serve the purpose of staying up to date but also organize group activities.
Currently, doing something as easy and relaxed as a Sunday brunch can turn into a living hell for the organizer. Person A makes a suggestion for brunch, 10 people read it, 4 reply and only one suggests a time and a place. And the last one sends a random meme to stir the conversation away. Thanks for nothing, John.
Chat Extensions can easily add a layer to make your life easier and reduce the amount of messages exchanged for that, e.g. imagine something like Doodle but directly within your existing group chat. Awesome.
As we already know from Slack, bots can increase the productivity drastically. Many small companies, small NGOs or event & meetup organizers are using Facebook and Messenger as their primary communication channel.
Simply by adding certain Chat Extensions you can easily increase the performance of your team or make their life easier with bots which help you with reporting, sharing tasks or synching your calendar from one spot.
After business comes pleasure. Beside Messenger Instant Games platform, Chat Extensions open up the opportunity to build other web-based group games for Messenger, especially those which don't require all users to be online at the same time, e.g. quiz games, board games etc.
Got a friend who always makes fun of you in the group chat for no reason? Who not challenge him to a quick game and see who has the last laugh.
📎 File sharing
File or photo sharing bots can finally end the pain of sharing private photos beneath friends. Right now a group chat often gets spammed when sharing photos and videos from #aboutlastnight, your cousin's fifth wedding or other events.
It's not only annoying for some but also these files are hard to find or reveal again at a later time. Chat Extensions could take care of that problem easily by organizing these files in a nice webview without spamming the thread or even upload them directly to the cloud if needed.
This is obvious, but I still wanted to mention it here. Besides pushing news to a group of people, providing a news channel specifically for groups can very likely increase the user engagement for publishers.
Whether it is world event related news, live tickers from your favorite 3rd league sports team or the freshest updates from a conference on deep sea fishing - for news, time will always be key! And channeling all news into one platform might give you all the information advantage that you need.