Chats from Yandex and Viber: what’s new?

Publication date: 25 Feb 2019

Yandex launches a messenger built into the browser
The new feature allows communicating with people who are nearby, given they use Yandex.Browser.
The application detects the user’s location and suggests the nearest chats. These can be either thematic groups for discussing a particular cafe or a cinema or ordinary groups for various conversations.
The user can choose the required chat right on the map or from the list. Chat rooms are listed in a separate category. If no required chat is found, the user can start one on his or her own.

Viber monetizes chatbots
Viber introduces a paid service for chatbot operators. Bots can still be published for free, but operators will be charged for the ability to send messages to users.
In particular, the messenger offers two options: up to 500,000 messages per month for $4,500 or one million messages per month for $6,500. The new service will be available from April 2019.
Viber explains that its new strategy aims at ensuring a quality experience for users. Experts, however, suggest that this strategy is likely to alienate companies that operate chatbots on Viber.
Negotiations are already ending in failures. At least six chatbot startups have refused to run any projects on Viber because of its new strategy. These are companies that develop a range of services for customers, including insurance companies, media, banks, and others.

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