Andrzej Gruszka 13.06.2019
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Updates in Messenger You Should Know About

During the last F8 conference, Facebook announced the upcoming updates in Messenger. The app will be lighter and simpler to use. It will be “designed to build closer connections between customers and companies”. According to our CTO, “the changes are going in the right direction because Messenger is crude”. Take a look at the most important updates, which will take place on the 15th of August.

Updates in Messenger – What Won’t be Displayed in the New App

We’ll no longer see Location Quick Reply – a useful feature that allowed users to share their current location with friends. It was a perfect solution for chatbots because they could, for instance, display the location of specific stores when users searched for them. Now, Facebook advises companies to ask users for postcodes and address details within the thread. As Facebook promises, users have to be patient because location quick reply doesn’t disappear forever. In the upcoming months, a worthy successor will arrive.

We’ll also have to say goodbye to the Share Button. Instead of it, Facebook suggests using the Messenger forward functionality. From the perspective of chatbot design, this poses a problem.

Thanks to this button, we can see our click results or choose the option to share another message. I cannot answer what motivated Facebook to make such a decision. And I hope that it’s only a temporary measure, which will lead to an improved chatbot sharing functionality.

Ola Bilińska, Customer Success Manager, KODA Bots

What won’t Function in the New Messenger App

Until now, Messenger extensions SDK allowed developers and companies to share website content directly within Messenger. In the new version, developers can generate a link using the context in the web view. Thanks to this, the user can copy the link and share it in the Messenger conversation.

What’s more, Share to Messenger SDK will no longer allow users to share links and media from apps to Messenger. Most probably, this will trigger changes in the very apps. In order to share content to Messenger, we’ll have to use the native sharing features built into our smartphones.

Messenger Codes, which were one the best Facebook functionalities for chatbots, are now gone. Users can no longer scan links to your chatbot with the Messenger camera. Instead, Facebook suggests using the phone’s native capabilities to scan QR codes with the help of links. 

I get the feeling that it’s all happening at the moment when more brands decided to use Messenger Codes and when users started to understand how they work. This functionality is not disappearing forever, but the turn towards QR codes means going back to the past. 

Ola Bilińska, KODA Bots Customer Success Manager 

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Messenger Functionalities that Change Their Form

Facebook will no longer support Vertical List Templates. This feature isn’t frequently used in chatbots because it has certain limitations. It cuts parts of the text on smaller screens and allows to list only up to four items. But that doesn’t change the fact that Vertical List Templates are a great way for users to manage notifications they signed up for. In the new app version, the functionality will be replaced with the classic carousel.

The nested menu will also change. Facebook is transitioning to a single layer menu format. As the company argues, this will create a more seamless experience for Messenger users.

In the place of the Open Graph template, which allows people to play songs within Messenger, there will be a generic template that will link to the song’s URL. When users click on a song shared in Messenger, they’ll be directed to the audio streaming platform’s website or app.

Facebook will also remove Messenger Bot Reviews. They allowed users to review Messenger bots with stars. After the 15th of August, page owners will no longer be able to display these ratings where it used to be possible.

The Construction Site is Getting Bigger

Facebook and its apps have to change. I’m sure that the company doesn’t want to repeat the fate of portals, which, just a few years ago, were very successful (e.g. MySpace), and today – because they couldn’t keep up with the market development – they’ve almost vanished from the Internet. Certainly, some useful chatbot functionalities are gone. But let’s wait to the 15th of August to fully assess all the updates. We can be sure of one thing – this is only the beginning. 

I wonder whether the deleted functionalities were chosen because of the users’ lack of interest? Did they slow the app down? Users of our chatbots rarely used the Share Button. But, at the same time, they liked to share their location. For chatbot designers, there are fewer options to choose from but UX is more important to Facebook! The Messenger app is overloaded. So the deleted functionalities are a small sacrifice when compared to the benefits the newest app version will bring.

Michał Pawełczyk, KODA Bots CTO 

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