The Facebook Messenger Bot Store is likely to be a key highlight at the F8 event on March 25 and, if it is–as Ted Livingston of Backchannel anticipates it will be–we?ll witness a tech tectonic shift in the magnitude of when the App Store was announced eight years ago. The bot store is Facebook?s plan to transform Messenger from a mere chat interface into a full interactive platform where people can shop, book hotels, download content, and more. F8 is Facebook?s annual conference that gathers developers and stakeholders of apps built on the social media ecosystem.
The Facebook Bot Store can very well fit ?a new application that lets users browse, search, purchase and download third party applications directly onto their iPhone.? Those were Steve Jobs?s words upon launching the App Store. Only this time, the late Apple founder?s vision will be happening inside the chat infrastructure instead of the phone?s OS. This will transform Facebook into the universe from which third-party bots from big brands, gaming companies, and indie developers revolve, much like the App Store is for native mobile apps today.
Consider the numbers: when Apple opened the App Store, it had six million iPhone users that gave Apple a good early traction. Today, the App Store has about 1.5 million apps. Now take a look at Facebook Messenger: it has 800 million active users today, over a hundred times the number of iPhone users when App Store was launched in 2008. Even if Facebook gets to attract only a tenth of its Messenger users to use bots sold via its store, the social media network can match the entire App Store market. Once Facebook Messenger users discover that they can order pizza, book a flight, watch a live stream UFC fight? all inside the chat system, they?ll likely not use another native app again, which eats up a lot of mobile storage.
Early this year, TechCrunch reported that Facebook had released a Chat SDK for developers who want to build bots inside Facebook Messenger. We?re also seeing rounds of seed capitalization for bot development, such as, Howdy, Pana, Hyper, and Luka.
So, is Facebook Messenger Bot Store the next big thing? We leave the answer to your imagination.