Bank Watch

Bank of America to let you chat with it on Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks in San Francisco on Tuesday, when the company announced that people who use its Messenger chat service will soon be able to order flowers, request news articles and talk with businesses by sending them direct text messages. At its annual conference for software developers, Zuckerberg said the company is releasing new tools that businesses can use to build ‘chat bots,’ or programs that talk to customers in conversational language. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks in San Francisco on Tuesday, when the company announced that people who use its Messenger chat service will soon be able to order flowers, request news articles and talk with businesses by sending them direct text messages. At its annual conference for software developers, Zuckerberg said the company is releasing new tools that businesses can use to build ‘chat bots,’ or programs that talk to customers in conversational language. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) AP

Facebook on Tuesday announced changes to its popular text-messaging app that will allow people to also chat directly with businesses.

No sooner than it did so, Bank of America said it was working with Facebook to offer the service to the Charlotte-based bank’s customers.

It’s not clear exactly when Bank of America will make the service available. “New features are slated to begin launching later this year,” the bank said in a press release.

The release also quotes Michelle Moore, who sits in Charlotte and heads Bank of America’s digital banking operations:

“As one of the first banks collaborating with Facebook Messenger, Bank of America sees tremendous potential in connecting our financial services expertise with Messenger to deliver enhanced access, convenience and value for our clients,” she said. “We want to serve clients wherever and whenever they choose, and Messenger is a perfect complement to our connected banking proposition through 2016 and beyond.”

Here’s a little of what Time said about Facebook’s announcement:

After months of widespread speculation and quiet experiments, Facebook is officially adding automated “bots” to its Messenger chat app.

The Menlo Park, Calif. firm is releasing tools that will let developers create the bots, which can handle customer service queries, plan travel itineraries, or provide a weather forecast within the messaging app.

“No one wants to have to install a new app for every business or service they want to interact with,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the company’s F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco, Calif. Tuesday. “We think you should be able to just message a business in the same way you message a friend.”

And here’s some of USA Today’s reporting:

You already chat with friends on Facebook Messenger. Now Messenger wants you to chat with businesses and get updates from them, too.

That's the future Facebook pitched Tuesday at f8, its annual conference for software developers in San Francisco.

“We think you should message a business just the way you would message a friend,” Mark Zuckerberg said on stage at f8.

He laughed: “To order flowers on 1-800-Flowers, you never have to call 1-800-Flowers again.”

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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