As Facebook continues its forays into commerce, the company has filed a patent for a messaging bot that enables users to pay for items. The patent, which is called “Processing Payment Transactions Using Artificial Intelligence Messaging Services,” details a bot that can understand and reply to the requests of users, CB Insights reported.
An illustration for the patent details a chat between a consumer and a coffee shop bot. After the bot tells the user the price of a beverage, the user is able to confirm that they want to purchase the item. If the user agrees, the bot is able to ask for a payment method and place the order. It can also create an order number and offer a time for the consumer to pick up the item. In order to accomplish all of these tasks, the bot reportedly uses natural language processing (NLP).
The news comes about a year after Facebook added enhanced NLP capabilities into its chat service with the launch of Messenger Platform 2.1; those updates are geared toward facilitating communication between business and customer, Facebook said in a blog post.
“We’re excited to launch Messenger Platform 2.1, which includes new and improved features that allow businesses to develop new ways to connect with their customers and enrich their conversational experiences on Messenger,” Facebook said.
As part of its effort to encourage business use of Messenger, Facebook announced new capabilities for developers to more easily use Messenger with their own solutions. Those include built-in NLP for automated conversations. At the time, the technology could identify “hello, bye, thanks, date and time, location, amount of money, phone number, email and a URL.”
The chat technology also included a handover protocol for Messenger to collaborate with other apps. “Handover protocol makes it possible for multiple service providers to power a single Messenger experience,” the company had said.