After the announcement that Facebook and others were taking chatbots increasingly seriously, it was only a matter of time before other companies tried to find their place among the chatter.
It’s super early days, but Moovit’s new transport bot is among the first to be directly integrated with Facebook Messenger, using the API to “support users’ trip planning questions and requests and provide suggested routes for journeys on public transport.”
Proving just how ahead of its time this chatbot is, many people won’t even have access to the barcode scan function yet.
— Moovit (@moovit) April 27, 2016
Fortunately, you can follow the short link or search ‘Moovit’ to get going. Only trouble is, the bot’s still pretty dumb.
No, not that Museum of Natural History! That’s in Oxford.
No, I don’t want directions to London! The Museum of Natural History IN LONDON.
We asked Moovit for more detail on what’s going on behind the scenes here and were assured that landmarks are a “work in progress.” Searching for a place name, like London Bridge, brought up three useable results.
A spokesperson said that at this point, the bot’s focus is A to B trip planning, adding:
“As more and more people spend time on messaging apps, it’s a quick and convenient way to plan a trip while multi-tasking and chatting on Facebook Messenger. You don’t have to switch between apps mid-conversation to figure out your route.”
On the main Moovit app (or CityMapper, my preference) this would have taken seconds and you can get almost outrageously comprehensive answers.
So until your chatbot is as good as that, you’ll have difficulty tempting me away, polite or not!