When it comes to building conversational chatbots, Dialogflow is one of the easiest to use platforms around. But if you’ve tried using it before, you’ve probably asked the question “How do I integrate Dialogflow into my website?”. While DialogFlow has native integrations with other services, most of them either require a separate app (such as Slack) or an account with another service (as is the case with Facebook Messenger). Last month, Google took steps to address this issue with the beta release of Dialogflow Messenger, a confusingly named* chat widget that can be easily embedded on to your website. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what this new tool can do.
* Like everything else in the chatbot world.
In essence, Dialogflow Messenger is a basic front-end tool that allows you to interact with a Dialogflow agent on your website. If you had a simple text-based chatbot, then DialogFlow Messenger offers a very quick solution to getting it onto your website.
Installing it is an easy process of:
1. Going to Dialogflow’s Integration tab and activating the DialogFlow Messenger integration.
2. Clicking on the Dialogflow Messenger box will bring up the embed code for the widget, which you can place directly onto your page or use a service like Google Tag Manager to embed it for you.
After that, you should see the widget appear on the bottom right along with a prompt for the Default Welcome Intent set in the agent.
Dialogflow Messenger allows you to interact with your agent/chatbot directly on your webpage. It can handle basic text interactions right out of the box, but any rich responses will require fulfillment. The rich responses it can handle are:
You can also customise the look of the widget through CSS.
If you have a simple text-based chatbot built in Dialogflow or if you’re just getting started out with Dialogflow and want something better than the in-built console, then Dialogflow Messenger is a good option for you. It’s also free, which is always a good thing.
But if you’re looking to make a full-featured chatbot for your website, then you will probably find Dialogflow Messenger is lacking. It has no way to hand off the chat to a real person and requires fulfillment for all rich responses. If you’re already dealing with fulfillment with your chatbot, then you’d be better off with other front-end chatbot widgets, such as Botcopy (https://www.botcopy.com/), which are both easier to use and much more feature rich.
Ultimately though, Dialogflow Messenger was just released to the public and is still very much in a beta form, so maybe it will expand in features and ease of use. But for right now, unless you’re making a very basic chatbot, then there are better solutions out there for you.
Keep an eye on the blog over the next few weeks as we’ll be posting more about the new changes to Dialogflow.