Chatbots Can Kill Apps, Recent Trends Suggest
It appears the age of the application may slowly come to an end. After all, why use a buggy app when you can just boot up a messaging app, type what you need, hit send, and let it do all the work? This may be the future of applications, as companies may slowly opt away from developing apps into working with existing chatbots to serve the needs of customers.
Pokemon Go players understand the concept of app fatigue. According to BBC, developers are facing competition in app stores because apps eat a lot of storage space and battery life, something the phenomenal game is experiencing.
Interestingly, chatbots can remove the need to download apps and instead just rely on a simple interface. Some chatbots, like LINE Weather, can provide the weather in any city by just typing its name. It replies with a helpful screenshot without you having to rely on any external app.
This marks the exponential development of LINE as an app since its 2011 release. Its Weather app has been doing this good work since 2012 and has been providing companies "official accounts" that they can use to deliver and exchange information.
LINE's Messaging API has now been released at LINE Developer Day 2016. This means people can expect to see more chatbots built around e-commerce and gaming.
According to Tech-in-Asia, LINE wants to become a "smart portal" that allows users to find anything they want anytime. This means it facilitates real-time and relevant communication between users and services.
According to The Economist, this means the next goal for developers is to provide a "natural and casual" conversation for bots to engage their users effectively.
This means people will be able to message businesses like friends as well. Shoei Niki, LINE Corporation's Planner, said it could be efficient to have a bot handle initial responses, and then have real people provide necessary individual support.
Meanwhile, Yuren from Vectr Labs has built a couple of prototypes, such as a vacation request log on Slack and a travel expense calculator on LINE, after the API's release.
This means chatbots are really starting to become the new face of app development nowadays.
For instance, Yuren's travel expense chatbot will be developed to help him remember how much he spent in a foreign country. All information he sends there will be filled in a Google spreadsheet. He was able to develop the app within a day.
New developments include working on a bot that can allow users to open a shop on a Facebook fan page and even sell over Messenger.