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Bots in 2016: Mid-Year Check In

Photo: Art by Sam Lessin.

In January I wrote a post on bots, conversational apps and Fin. In the post I called out that it felt like 2016 was the year of a broad shift in the developer ecosystem away from apps and toward conversational interfaces and bots.

A lot of cards have flipped over in the past six months. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple made various announcements around bots. At least a dozen bot-focused incubators have sprung up, as have hundreds of fledgling companies of various levels of seriousness. Yet a lot hasn’t happened. None of the major platforms have yet delivered solid ground on which to build. The apps that have launched in broad public view have been disappointing, and there is no distribution to speak of.

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