Yahoo announced yesterday that they are releasing four new Yahoo bots to Facebook Messenger – @YahooNews, @YahooWeather, @YahooFinance and @MonkeyPet.
Yes, that means you can have a virtual pet monkey! Definitely an excellent way to stave off the Pokemon GO hunger.
Through the bots, one can easily browse trending global news, follow market trends, and even send weather reports to their friends without leaving the Messenger app.
You can think about the bots as your Facebook friend. A friend that is always awake to assist, and won’t complain when you only talk to them because you need a favour. (You know who you are.)
Curious about the possibilities, I decided to try them out.
As a content producer, I’m always on the lookout for trending news, so I decided to check out the Yahoo News bot first.
Same as the other bots, just do the same as above with their names to get started!
Roaring to get started with its capabilities, I played around with the feature I predict myself using the most often: “Search”; and unable to think of anything else to test the bot with, I went with the term (what else!) “Pokemon Go”.
The response rate was instantaneous, and I could easily scroll through the results and pick the one I wanted.
I also checked out the “Summary” option as a potential cure of tl;dr, but unfortunately, the summary was quite lacking. Looks like I’ll still need to pore through the full article on the website when I click through the “Read Story” option.
Next, I wanted to see what news and topics were currently trending:
Want to check out why the topic is trending? “See More” would bring up for you the news headlines and the insight.
Now, the part that impressed me:
The “Top Stories” section not only offers a summary option, but also gives you the choice to get your queries answered quickly via suggested questions.
So do I think this bot’s helpful? DEFINITELY.
Update: I received messages from the News bot at around 11pm and 9am showing me the top stories at those points of times. @YahooNews, you spoil me.
The weather in Singapore these days is erratic at best, and this bot would potentially be useful in helping me decide if I need to bring out my umbrella or not.
I was also psyched to try out the caption & share feature, as demonstrated in this GIF on Yahoo’s announcement:
Honestly, I don’t see myself captioning every single day’s weather in the long run, but hey, it’s a cool feature to check out nonetheless.
Unfortunately, my experience just left me confused and disappointed. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
And from there, I was stuck in a frustrating “Nigerian weather-Which one did you mean” loop.
Finance is not my strong suit, or even something I’m knowledgeable in, so for this one, I had to recruit the help of my colleague who writes for a Finance website.
She didn’t have the bot on her Messenger app, so she used my phone to look through the features.
From here, users can choose to set an alert for when the stocks rise or fall, but what was interesting was the “Predict Price” option.
“Oooh this is interesting…because when they ask me about the stock, I’ll naturally be very interested to know about how it’s doing.” The notifications that is offered by the bot is also another way that those of you market-watchers can benefit from the bot.
Her short experience with the bot on my phone definitely got her interested, and taking out her phone, she asked me how she could get started on it too.
The potential pitfalls, though? “I first need to check whether the sources and information they give me is legit or not first,” she quipped.
The one I was most excited for – the prospect of having a virtual pet monkey on my phone!
With the preview on Yahoo’s announcement showing me the possibilities that I can ‘unlock’ levels and help my pet grow and selfies from its travel, I imagined interacting with it on a regular basis.
However, reality wasn’t as rosy.
Before starting, I wanted to make sure that I was well acquainted with the instructions so that I could make full use of this, however, as seen, my ‘calls’ for help simply met with a cold, cold non-response – for over 2 hours!
Left with no other choice, I bit the metaphorical bullet and went right into the adoption.
And with that, my pet monkey was ‘born’!
The places your monkey can be born in are random, so I’m sure that element of surprise would get users interested to try it out.
The bot works on your sending over of food emojis to ‘feed’ your monkey, so I started off with an apple, just to see how it’ll go:
As I sent more food, my monkey replied to me in grammatically warped messages which was pretty adorable, but I was still not getting the selfies and level ups I was promised!
I soon gave up and closed the app for a day. But being the stubborn person that I am, I decided to try again this morning, and after spamming a bunch of food emojis, I finally succeeded:
Honestly, getting to this stage was pretty tedious because I had to keep toggling between my phone’s keyboard to send over a food emoji. If you have little patience, you might give up pretty quickly.
I also wish that the bot would be more interactive – like sending notifications for me to feed it, or perhaps offering me interesting facts on random topics. The interaction felt very…well, robotic, and rather mindless after a while.
Will I Continue To Use The Bots?
I will definitely check out the YahooNews bot every now and then if I want some quick newsflash, but probably won’t be using it on a daily basis. Finance and Weather are also out of the picture because of the lack of interest and the frustration that came with my experience for the latter.
As for my pet monkey, for sentimentality sake, I will go back and visit him from time to time throughout my day. How long that would last though, it’s hard to say. – Vulcan Post