Line is latest to explore chatbots integration

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Line has become the latest among a long list of messaging clients to introduce its very own chatbot integrated into its app, using AI to engage with users and also enabling third party brands to take advantage of the feature.

Messenger and Allo have shown good promise that chatbots are the way of the future. And Line has been smart enough to profit from this idea and introduce this still-new feature to its 200 million+ active users all over the world. Line is extremely popular in Asia and can even take on the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat in terms of popularity and usage.

Owned by South Korean internet company Naver Corp., the messaging app first announced its plans on integrating chatbots back in March of 2016 and had invited developers to start building bots on a first come first serve basis with a maximum of 10,000 bots allowed initially. Due to the popularity of the platform, that limit has been surpassed and is now up to 20,000 bots. The initiative has now led to Line releasing a newer easy to use API for developers, announced at a recent conference held in Japan.

Unlike the types of bots we’re used to seeing on Messenger or Allo’s Google Assistant, the bots that Line will be introducing will be of three types. The first type will be a “confirm type” which enables the user to select one of two options – yes or no. The second type will be a “button type” which empowers the user to use pictures, text or other action buttons while interacting with the chatbot. The third type is a carousel similar to carousel ads found on Facebook or Twitter’s Highlights feature. Here, users will have to interact with each carousel via a set of buttons placed on each card.

“These new message types sent by chatbots allow companies to realise a smoother Line-based contact point with users for their services and content. Line plans to introduce even more message types in the future,” Line’s press note stated.

Line’s chatbot development initiative has received a tremendous response that they’ve also announced a competition for developers with a deadline for January 2017. The winner will be named in February.

Line’s aim in doing so is to reward its chat bot developers who come with superior ways to optimize the user experience. The contest will award the winner with 10 million Yen, or $98,000. As of now, Line has its own set of chat bots going live for Japan – a train times bot called Navitime and music search bot to hook up to Line’s music streaming service, Line Music.

Line is also upping its development game adding SDK support for more computer languages – Java, Go, Ruby, PHP and Perl 5. And the show doesn’t end there. Lastly, there’s Line Notify, that lets the app connect to different online services like weather and news channels to offer notifications to users as Line messages. Now that’s pretty useful!

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