Chat bots that can automatically assist you with things like booking travel or ordering food at a restaurant are suddenly the new, hip thing in private messaging.
As a result, many people believe that Facebook Messenger will roll out some kind of bot store at its annual developer conference next week, the messaging equivalent of an app store where developers can market the bots they make to solve all your daily problems.
Kik, the messaging app popular among teens, also believes a bot store is coming to Messenger. How do we know? Because it rolled out its own bot store Tuesday, one week ahead of Facebook’s expected launch.
Kik already offered some bots to its users, but beginning Tuesday it’s offering technology so that any developer can build a bot within the app. Kik will still approve each bot before it appears in the “bot shop,” as it’s calling the store.
The launch gives us an idea of what bots might look like on other platforms (like Messenger). Kik is launching with bots from brands, like Sephora or The Weather Channel, but also with entertainment bots, like Twitter’s Vine.
CEO Ted Livingston believes that opening up the platform to everyone means there will be thousands of bots built before the end of the year. Kik is launching with just 16.
“Look at what’s happening in China. I walk up to a vending machine and I chat to get a coke or I walk up to a restaurant and I chat to order a burger. It’s such a natural experience that unlocks so many daily behaviors which are totally offline today,” Livingston said. “People are going to overestimate how quickly this will happen, but then underestimate the impact it will have once it does.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.