The announcements are coming hard and fast out of Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference.
In addition to new AR ad tools for Messenger, Messenger chief David Marcus has also announced a new feature called ‘M Translations’, which will enable users to automatically translate messages sent to them in their non-native language, expanding opportunities for international commerce.
As explained by Marcus:
“Now when people connected through Marketplace receive a message in a language that is different from their default language in Messenger, M will ask them if they want to translate the message. This will help drive commerce between buyers and sellers despite language barriers.”
As noted by Marcus, initially, the functionality will only be available within Facebook Marketplace interactions for users in the U.S. (and only from English to Spanish, and vice-versa), but Facebook plans to expand M Translations more broadly in future, giving more individuals and businesses the opportunity to conduct cross-border interactions, without the language barrier.
Facebook’s been working on developing their international commerce tools for some time – last June, The Social Network launched a new ‘Cross-Border Insights’ tool which aims to highlight international opportunities within your vertical.
Through broader integration of tools like M Translations, Facebook may be able to make itself into the ultimate global connector, providing new business opportunities for even the smallest of operators – and aligning with Facebook’s initial mission to ‘connect the world’.
In addition to this, Facebook’s also enabling developers to integrate built-in natural language processing (NLP) with their Page inbox, enabling them to “easily create a custom Wit app based on frequently asked questions and themes in their Messenger conversations”.
NLP is what enables Messenger bots to detect meaning, and respond to user questions, but there are various complexities in implementing NLP effectively. This new addition aims to address such issues – as explained by Facebook:
“Recognizing that each business has unique needs and recurring themes that matter to them and their customers, it’s essential that their bot be able to respond appropriately. So, if, for example, a Page is frequently asked questions like “what are your hours” and “when are you open”, they might create a “store hours” entity via the Page inbox training. This ability to easily customize their bot will enhance developers’ ability to connect with their customers about the right things at the right time.”
It’s a technical update, but with some 300,000 bots now active on Messenger, there’s clearly demand for, and interest in, such tools.
Both features are being rolled out from this week, with M Translations, as noted, starting in the U.S. with Marketplace interactions.