While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage with a vision for further connecting the world, the biggest news out of F8 was about a whole other type of connection. Facebook may be the ultimate connector of people, but now it also wants to connect people more with companies. And the most efficient way to do that is not with people, but with robots.
Facebook's Messenger unveiled all the new ways it's trying to keep users within its app, and make it easier for businesses to reach consumers. The business potential is clear: The more useful Facebook is for businesses, the more they'll spend on ads
"All the ways of interacting with businesses are not perfect, downloading an app is cumbersome, it takes time," says Messenger chief David Marcus in a First on CNBC interview. "We believe that bringing it all together in one thread, in messenger, where you can have a rich interaction model," he said.
"People spend most of their time today on smartphones messaging," said Marcus in a first on CNBC interview.
"Since you're already using the product, it's a natural conversational way," said Marcus of new apps to interact with companies. "The way we're built as human beings, we like to have conversations. You'll be able to interact with all the brands and businesses you like."
What makes Facebook confident that it'll get companies and brands to shift focus away from their own websites and apps to build on top of Facebook's? "The biggest platform globally is Messenger, you have 900 million people on the platform, so if you as a business want to reach almost every single one of your customers, this is the place to be."
Marcus also took a dig at rival messaging platforms and the bots that live on top of them.
"Other platforms have built very simplistic bot platforms that are basically just text-based question and answer type of interfaces. I don't know about you, but if there's a button with a word on it I'd rather tap on it than type the whole word," said Marcus. "And I think most people want to interact with services that way."
How does Messenger avoid overwhelming its users with what feels like spam? Marcus said caution is paramount. "Messaging is a very private, personal space, and we want to make sure we maintain a very, very high quality experience for everyone."
The way Facebook is managing that is by building out the tools quickly. Early reviews have panned some bot experiences on Messenger, but Marcus said the company is committed, and not in a hurry.