Facebook’s Virtual Assistant M Is Dead. So Are Chatbots
January 10, 2018
IT’S DIFFICULT TO remember now, but there was a moment in early 2016 when many in the tech industry believed chatbots—automated text-based virtual assistants—would be the next big platform. Messaging app Kik staked its company’s future on bots and “chatvertising.” Startup studio Betaworks launched an accelerator program called Botcamp. And at its 2016 F8 conference, Facebook pitched bots to developers as the best way to connect with 900 million Messenger users.
Few expected that voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant would thrive and text-based chatbots would become a punchline. Betaworks’ accelerator, which the company says was designed as a one-off, has moved on to other themes. Kik pivoted to blockchain technology. And now Facebook says it will shutter M, its buzzy full-service virtual assistant, on Jan. 19.