We Tested 11 Facebook Messenger Bots: Here’s the Scoop
When Facebook introduced Messenger Bots in early 2016 at their F8 Developer Conference, we were pretty excited to see what would be developed in the coming months. While the platform is still relatively young, developers have put forward several Messenger Bots that are showing off its capabilities.
If you’d like to see the Introduction of Messenger Bots at F8, here’s the video.
This week we decided to take a look at how the most popular Messenger Bots function, and which ones might be worth starting a conversation with today. So here’s our evaluation of 11 Messenger Bots, let us know in the comments section if you’re using any that we left off of our list.
Our Rating: 10/10
We’re starting out list with the Digg Messenger Bot – which also happens to be our favorite on this list. The Digg Bot will send you their latest Daily Edition of articles featured on Digg, letting you scroll through 3-4 articles to see what interests you. You’re also given the option to look at the Digg Editors favorite stories of the day, and their “Coolest Internet Thing” article.
What’s really great about the Digg Bot is you can tailor it to your own interests. For example, if you’re interested in Science, all you have to do is message Digg with the word “Science” and the Bot will show you its top rated articles in that category.
2. Product Huntian
Our Rating: 9/10
For Product Hunt lovers, the Product Huntian Bot is sure to please. You can choose to have updates sent to you daily or weekly. There are also a wide selection of categories within the Bot that make it highly personable – you can search for podcasts, marketing tools, games, or what’s trending today. It’s a simple Bot to use, and we love the flexibility it provides for those only interested in a certain topic.
3. Hi Poncho
Our Rating: 8/10
Hi Poncho is a weather Bot providing users with daily and 5-day forecasts. It also lets you ask specific questions, such as “Is it snowing in New York,” and “Do I need an umbrella today?” Other nice features include notifications when it is about to start raining (10 minutes prior), and a Pollen forecast which definitely comes in handy. This is another Messenger Bot that we’d highly recommend.
4. Growth Bot
Our Rating: 7/10
Created by HubSpot, Growth Bot is one of the most interesting Bots on our list. It has tons of commands you can use to find out quick snapshots of information, but with such complexity comes a few issues. Sample commands are extensive, here are a few you can use:
- what are top articles this week on growth hacking?
- what marketing software does zendesk.com use?
- show me top posts from moz.com
- what keywords does buffer.com rank for?
- give me company info on producthunt.com
Each of these searches returns accurate results, but when we tested for lesser known companies or tried to connect our Google Analytics account, we came across some issues. We love the direction Growth Bot is taking, and the effort they’ve put into making the Bot rich with information – but it does need some fine tuning.
5. Penny Cat
Our Rating: 5/10
Penny Cat is a Bot that provides promo codes and coupons for your favorite online retailers. It works pretty well, but can become spammy to a certain extent. If you search for Groupon, Penny Cat will request your location and show you relevant coupons near you. We like this functionality and think users will enjoy it too. If you play a game however, Penny Cat will provide you with a reward that is far from something you’d probably want – we won the right to download some pretty terrible looking software twice. If you’re a coupon lover, you’ll probably enjoy the Bot, if not, we’d say this is one you can skip.
6. Trading Bot
Our Rating: 6/10
The premise of Trading Bot is simple, and solid. The Bot is programmed to provide market updates when you send a message including a stock ticker or company name. While the Bot works well with big name companies (such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple) we had a hard time pulling data for lesser known companies. We love the idea of Trading Bot, and hope that its creators are in the process of working out the bugs.
Our Rating: 5/10
Hooks is a Bot that notifies users via message about pop culture events. You can choose to be notified for television events, sporting events, movies and music releases, and concerts nearby. The Bot functions as described, but we’re not sure it’s unique in concept. There are plenty of other notifications you can set up on your phone that provide the same services.
8. Hello Jarvis
Our Rating: 7/10
Think of Hello Jarvis as your personal assistant, in Bot form. It’s a simple idea, and it works quite well. The Bot is useful for setting reminders via Messenger, whether you want to be reminded to take out the trash or head out to a doctor’s appointment. Similar to our criticism of Hooks, there are plenty of other reminder based options out there – however the simplistic nature of Hello Jarvis, and it’s flawless execution means that you may be more likely to use it than other options.
Our Rating: 1/10
Have you ever found something and wondered, “What the f*** is this?” Now, there’s a Bot for that. Or at least, there’s an idea for a Bot for that. We get it – this is probably a real challenge for the Bots creators to get right, but twice we messaged this Bot with no response.
Our Rating: 3/10
Swelly is a Bot for people who like to vote on pictures. We’re not sure we understand the premise, or value to users. When you message the Bot, you choose between topics that interest you and immediately start voting on which of two pictures presented to you is better. There doesn’t seem to be anything more to it than that. The pictures are grainy, repetitive, and get old pretty quickly. We’re going to go ahead and recommend you skip Swelly. It gets a 3/10 because it does function as described – we just hate the description.
Our Rating: 8/10
The Kayak Bot has plenty of useful functionality. You’ll still have to book your flight on the website, but it’s a great Bot for checking in on flight and hotel prices on the go. If you’ve ever been curious about deals from your city, or are watching flight prices for a deal, we’d recommend checking it out.
Have you used any Bots that we didn’t mention on this list? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below!
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