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The bots are taking over! A few months ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be introducing a new innovation in its popular Messenger app. They’re called bots, and they are basically AI (artificial intelligence) assistants for specific tasks and services.
Like with anything on the world’s largest social network, developers really took to the idea and built some amazing bots. Back in July, we featured some of the best bots you should add to Messenger, but there have been several more added since then. Here’s the best of the rest, so you don’t have to go hunting for them.
Remember, all you have to do to run a Messenger bot is start a conversation with it. You can either search for the bot’s name on Messenger.com or the mobile Messenger app (iOS, Android), or find the Facebook page (linked below) and send a message.
Purpose — Weather forecast with a fun personality.
Poncho the Weathercat is my favorite Messenger bot right now. It’s actually just a simple weather forecast service. But it has the personality of a cat, complete with funny remarks and disinterest in most of your human activities. Much like Carrot, the snarky weather app, Poncho makes it fun to find out about the weather in your area.
You can ask it for the forecast tomorrow, what the pollen count is going to be like (a crucial stat for those with allergies), and much more. Poncho will reply with the information you want, and throw in a few funny GIFs or memes to add to the fun.
Purpose — The fastest way to make and share a meme.
Speaking of memes, they can be the perfect way to convey a message when you’re chatting on Messenger. They’re even more perfect to be snarky and sarcastic. We’ve shown you how to quickly create memes before, but in the fast-paced world of internet chat, that might mean you miss the moment.
MemeGenerator Bot is the quickest way to create a meme. Type a popular meme or select from the list. Add the top text and the bottom text when prompted. And boom, your meme is ready! You can just forward that to other people now. It’s the simplest, quickest thing you can imagine.
Purpose — Summary of important and latest news.
NewsBytes is one of the finest implementations of what a Facebook Messenger bot should be like. When you start chatting, it’ll ask if you want the latest news or a digest of today’s news. Select one to get a carousel of news.
Each news item has further options to read a quick summary or the full article. The summary is what you’ll use more often than not, since it’s a superb way to skim daily news. At no point do you leave the bot, all the headlines and the text are available right there in Messenger.
Purpose — Quick-look Wikipedia entries.
This has happened to all of us. You’re in a group chat and one of your friends makes a reference that you’re unfamiliar with. So you open a new tab in Chrome, go to Wikipedia, and search for it. It’s a lot of steps when all you really need is a quick snippet more often than not.
The Alex WikiMessenger bot is the easier alternative. Just type anything and you’ll get a photo as well as a snippet of all the Wikipedia entries that match it. You can click any entry to read more, but often, just the 4–5 word description is good enough.
Purpose — Translate sentences from Spanish to English.
When your friend springs a sentence in Spanish on you, Lingio is your best friend. It’s far faster than changing apps to cross the language divide with Google Translate. Fire up a chat with Lingio, choose the Translate button when prompted, and copy-paste the sentence. You’ll get a translation within Facebook Messenger itself. Lingio works only with Spanish and English, and also offers a quiz if you want to brush up on either language.
Purpose — Quickly get medical information about common health issues.
The internet is full of bad advice, especially when it comes to health and medicine. Don’t just Google something and follow the first advice you get. When it comes to your health, you need to find reliable medical advice online.
HealthTap is one of the best options for this, since all the advice is contributed by real doctors. Ask it a question, and it will search its database to match it with the available advice. A couple of clicks will give you the answer you’re looking for. Remember, the more doctors that agree with an answer on HealthTap, the more reliable it is likely to be.
7. Unicorn Bay
Purpose — Look up stock markets around the world.
Want to find out how your investments are doing today? A quick message to Unicorn Bay is all you need. For example, type “apple” or “AAPL” and Unicorn Bay will tell you how Apple is trading today on the stock market. You can add your favorite companies to a watchlist, so that just typing “Watchlist” will bring up all of their recent information.
The bot tracks some of the most popular stock markets around the world, so you aren’t restricted to NYSE either. It’s a good tool for beginners in the stock market, just like these stock market games to teach you how to make money.
8. WTF Is That?
Purpose — Identify anything by its photo.
You just came across something mysterious and cool. Maybe it’s a colorful bug, maybe it’s a weird object, maybe it’s one of the countless astonishing items at Wal-mart. You want to know what it is—nay, you need to know. The WTF Is That bot will give you an answer.
Shoot a photo, send it to WTF Is That, and its computer vision algorithm will get to work. It works a surprising number of times, or at least comes close. It’s not flawless, as you might expect. But when it gets things right, it’s a “wow” moment. It’s better than asking questions online and hoping you get an answer.
Purpose — Check if your flight is on time.
I can’t imagine ever wanting to ask a bot to search flights for me. That would probably break one or all of the rules to finding cheap airline tickets. But a bot can be useful in travel nonetheless. For something as simple as looking up your booked flight’s information, it would be wonderful.
Instalocate tracks all planes across the world. So with one question, you can find out if your flight is on time, what time it’ll depart, or where in the world it is right now. That’s the kind of travel info that is actually helpful to get in a single line from a bot. And Instalocate does it flawlessly.
Purpose — Play a quiz game with people around the world.
Whatson is a fun little game bot that you’ll find yourself getting addicted to. Don’t be surprised if you fire up Messenger in every five minute break and start playing this quiz game. Say “hi” and you’ll be ready to begin. Whatson asks a question, you select one of the three options.
The faster you answer, the more points you get. Incorrect answers get negative points. Streaks of correct answers get bonuses. It’s a blast, and you will soon find yourself competing with friends or strangers on the global leaderboard!
Did We Miss Any?
All of the bots featured here are, in our opinion, the best in their respective categories. In fact, we’d dare say that these are the best Messenger bots you can play with right now.
Do you think we missed any?