Later nowadays at its f8 developer convention Facebook is expected to unveil a large press into bots on its Messenger platform. So small surprise that rival messaging platform Telegram has taken the opportunity to remind folks it introduced its possess bot platform back in June 2015 — by saying a two. update to mentioned platform nowadays, the most important update considering that start it claims.

What are bots? Here the phrase refers to automated chatbots that sit on a messaging platform letting consumers interact with a third celebration software method, by way of the familiar chat interface, to easily carry out specific actions — and, crucially, do so without acquiring to leave the messaging platform — actions such as searching for a particular URL to share in a chat, say, or asking for info about the weather conditions or information. (TechCrunch has its incredibly possess information bot on Telegram, for instance.) The user just requirements to ping the bot in query to tap into the external provider it plugs into.

Many bots can properly be thought of as an alternative search system that is embedded into an existing platform and drawing on a cache of precise data — changing the need for consumers to go and carry out a sequence of exterior searches to retrieve whatever third celebration data they’re following.

Telegram’s bot two.0 update brings a clutch of new features to develop out the utility of its bot platform — which includes the skill for devs to develop bots that can send any sort of articles supported on Telegram, such as paperwork, MP3s, films, stickers, animations and contacts assist for place-based mostly providers and the skill to deeply integrate with other providers based mostly on users’ mobile phone quantities.

It’s also incorporating inline keyboards that can be structured to mesh with a particular bot’s messages — so consumers can tap on pre-determined buttons to respond to the bot, somewhat than needing to sort out precise instructions.

And when Telegram formerly supported the skill for bots to give personalized reply keyboards, such as for instance with its sticker ranking bot which gives buttons for 1 star, two stars and so on, inline keyboards take items a move additional — not sending messages to the chat but supporting at the rear of-the-scenes buttons such as callback buttons and URL buttons. The platform also now lets bots edit their possess messages.

“Thanks to message modifying and inline keyboards with callbacks, developers can now develop interactive UIs within their bots with out acquiring to litter consumers chat with several messages that are swiftly outdated (which we sometimes observed just before),” explains Telegram founder Pavel Durov.

Telegram has built 4 sample bots to present off the new functions: @new music, a bot for searching for and sharing classical music @youtube, a bot for searching and sharing YouTube videos @foursquare, a bot for discovering close by restaurants and destinations to share addresses with close friends and @sticker, a bot for discovering stickers employing — you guessed it — emoji as the start level for a sticker look for. (So if, like me, you find yourself overusing the tears of laughter emoji, this is one way to swiftly look for out alternatives… ) Telegram consumers need to be up to date to the newest variation of the app to interact with the new bots.

“These sample bots are but the beginning. Our Bot API two. enables developers to generate fluid and easy-to-use interfaces for strong bots. And we will be observing a whole lot of new ones in the coming months, following all, 2016 is the calendar year of bots,” it adds in a blog site submit saying the update.

How common are bots on Telegram? The startup claims a significant chunk of consumers are now regularly chatting with bots. “Last calendar year bot adoption was pushed mainly by state-of-the-art consumers, but now bots have absent mainstream. More than 20 for every cent of Telegram’s every month consumers check out articles generated by bots,” it tells TechCrunch.

Back in February, the messaging app announced its platform experienced achieved a hundred million every month active consumers, expressing it was incorporating 350,000 new consumers each day — with some 15 billion missives generated for every working day. So that’s apparently some 20 million Telegram consumers now viewing bot-generated articles on a every month foundation.

What does the startup think about Facebook launching its possess large press around bots? “We are delighted that other platforms are catching up as it is good for the ecosystem,” it claims.

Also nowadays, Telegram has announced tweaks to sharing and previews in the app, including a new reduced friction movie player (with fewer buttons to tap to start looking at articles) easier to use sticker pack previews assist for tap and maintain previews on iOS for GIFs and bot articles and a big redesign of the Telegram Android app.