personal assistants

Useful chatbots ready for you

Post in What's the Forecast?

As you might have read in a previous post here on What’s the Forecast?, bots and “chatbots” are on the rise. Early-adopters and businesses are beginning to emphasize their use of bots — in a way to engage the receiver in a whole new way.

We’re just getting started at Forecast as well — Message the Forecast bot.

In this post, I will introduce you to some of the best chatbots available out there at the moment — some which have already gained ground even in bots’ still very early stage of penetration. These bots are mainly targeted towards the consumer market, but stay up-to-date in here when we list some similarly useful bots for the business environment in an upcoming post.

Booking a room through Facebook Messenger

Booking a room through Facebook Messenger

The examples of bots below are assembled to provide a list that is available and useful for everybody — thus the bots are globally available, and regional or national bots are left out, but I encourage you to take a look at your local bots as well through search in various bot directories both inside platforms and outside through websites, e.g. Chatbottle.

Tap the bot names for direct links to Facebook Messenger. Some might also be available on other bot platforms.

Customer service
The most businesses out there are already providing support and customer service through social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. This has just been part of the general work of the social media marketing teams in organizations, but now we see businesses incorporating more sophisticated solutions — where the business directly encourage potential customers to engage with their support team through channels like Facebook Messenger.

Some go a step further, and integrate a bot into this chat experience, in order to provide quick assistance around the clock, and at the same time lowering costs of having personnel ready 24/7. Simply search for a specific business, and send them a message — as you would do a friend.

Questions regarding health, lifestyle, illnesses, etc. can arise at any given moment in people’s lives. Time is often an important measure when it comes to curing an illness or disease, both in terms of how to react to certain symptoms and providing an instant answer to lower people’s worry. Chatbots are an obvious fit for health assistance.

One great example is HealthTap. Through a conversational experience, you tell the bot which types of symptoms you face, and the bot then searches its’ database of similar questions asked by other users both through the bot, and through other means. If several doctors have answered a similar question, you can read one or all of them, and see what fits your situation best.

In the case that HealthTap isn’t able to find an appropriate answer to your question, they have a team of doctors who will answer your question — free of charge.

Availability: Facebook Messenger

Sources of news have been one of the first categories to penetrate the chatbot market very quickly. There are a great number of bots already available from across global, national and local news sources — whether it’s general news coverage, technology, fashion or another subject.

Some great examples: CNNTechCrunchThe Wall Street JournalOutbraintheScore (for sports), NFLDiggHi Poncho (for weather), Sky NewsThe GuardianTech in AsiaHuffington Post, etc.

Thus, you’re able to get instant breaking news, general top news, or your daily digest personalized to fit your interests.

Many independent brands have begun to grab the opportunity, and engage, promote and showcase new products through chat, matching your tastes.

Examples: chatShoppereBay ShopBotBrathwaitShop SpringBurberry, etc.

Some of these learn your taste over time — this is mainly in the case of bigger brands with a wider range of selections, while smaller independent brands naturally don’t need to learn people’s taste, since they already acknowledged that they like the brand by engaging with it. Some brands are about to integrate the whole checkout process within the bot environment, while others directs you to their website through a link.

Inspiration and Learn
Chatbots can be as engaging or as simple and quiet as preferred — sometimes customizable.

Epytom Style Strategist sends you styles every morning, new combinations and looks. It learns from your taste over time, and encourage users to send back their matching look for others to gain inspiration from.

Ainstein is a bot that helps you to learn and understand programming languages. You simply choose a language, and how often you want to take sessions towards reaching your goal.

Sure helps you find new interesting venues to eat, drink or hangout — based on your location, price and tastes.

EmojiHEALTH is targeted towards teens and millennials, and encourage people to base their lives on health and wellness. Through an on-going conversation with pictures, quizzes, etc. it keeps their users engaged over time. Fitly and MyWorkout are bots providing you with body-weight exercises which are easy-to-do in a home or work setting. Bearhug helps tracking your periods (it was clever enough to make me aware that I don’t have that…), while Drink H2O simply reminds you to drink water throughout the day.

Akita helps you find events happening around you within a chosen time frame, price and category.

The Green Junkie helps you find healthy recipes within specific categories. The bot is focused on plant-based food — thus a great companion for vegans.

Ask Haley connects parents to experts and creates a private room for questions.

Time wasters and Social
Another popular category of chatbots is the social and “for fun” bots. These are quick bots that you can reach out to whenever you have a moment, and need a little entertainment.

Swelly is a simple peer-to-peer poll bot. You simply receive pictures and questions anonymously from other people, and then you either like or dislike, hot or not, vote option 1 or option 2, etc. Afterwards, you see a graph showing the current state of the poll, and whether you went for the most popular choice or the other. All kinds of fun polls are going on in there, and you can of course add your own to get other people’s opinion as well.

Foxsy is a matchmaking, friends finder and dating bot that connects to your Facebook account, and helps you find new matches. At the other end of the spectrum, Chatible and Anony both connect you to strangers in the best Chatroulette style — anonymously and easy to leave.

Sequel Stories is an interactive story bot. Initially you choose a story, and through an on-going visual conversation, you choose different options and thus design your own way through the story. Humani: Jessie’s Story is in a similar way a conversation-based story with a very responsive and interactive chatbot. The story is mainly text-based, and adds a very natural language, like texting a friend.

Trivia Blast is a pop culture quizzing bot with games that you can play alone (with the bot), or invite friends around to.

Dankland is a meme creator. You send a picture, and the bot automatically applies a random text upon it.

Automation and assistance
The assisting bot category is where it gets really interesting both within personal-, and business everyday life. These help you in various ways, and always run in the background to keep you on-track.

More sophisticated personal assistants are expected to evolve in the coming months and years, read more here, but simpler “one task”-bots are already available through channels like Facebook Messenger.

Icon8 is a photo filter-adding bot. You send a picture to the bot, and choose which filter you want to be added to the specific picture. New filters are added and changed on an ongoing basis, and the filter-added image is received instantly — ready to publish on Instagram or similar. Photo Colorizer uses artificial intelligence to instantly colorize a picture — you can send a black/white vintage photo, and receive a brand new natural-looking color image.

HP Print Bot is a very clever official bot by HP. Through a simple conversation you connect the bot to your printer, and afterwards you’re able to send files directly to the printer through the bot. The bot will also keep you updated on the status of ink cartridges, and notify you to refill whenever needed.

Hello Jarvis is a to-do list and reminder bot. You simply tell the bot what you need to get done, and it’ll keep track of everything — remind you whenever a due is upcoming.

AutoHash provides instant image label detection — scans your image and sends back a list of appropriate hashtags for social media (particularly, Instagram). Simple, but useful bot if you’re into Instagram and hashtags.

WTFIT is in a similar way a visual recognition bot. You send it a picture of a specific thing, building, painting, etc., and it will analyze it instantly to provide you with an answer within seconds.

Hipmunk does what Hipmunk does — provide you with qualified flight and hotel search results matching your queries. Similarly, KAYAK does also have a bot doing somewhat the same thing, while Instalocate does live flight tracking and updates.

RemitRadar helps you find providers with the best exchange rates between two currencies. It collects different options, and makes it cheaper to send / receive money globally.

GrowthBot is a marketing and sales bot that aggregates various information about various things, e.g. you can ask for company info, which PPC keywords they buy, or look up an email address.

As a reward for reading all the way through (or scrolling at least), I’ll provide you with a simple, yet useful, tip to get a more native experience of your bots by adding them to the home screen of your smartphone.

Through Facebook Messenger, go to your favorite bot, tap the information icon in the upper right-hand corner, and then the three dots at the same place. Tap “Create shortcut”. The bot will now be available directly from your home screen.