Facebook today launched Messenger Platform 2.1 with new features to give developers and brands more ways to reach potential customers, like built-in natural language processing, a payments SDK, and a global beta that makes it easier to switch between automated bots and the humans behind 70 million businesses on Facebook.

Natural language processing (NLP) will be provided by Wit.ai.

The company acquired by Facebook in 2015 has always made NLP available to developers, but in 2.1 it comes as a built-in feature to detect the use of common phrases like “hello,” “bye,” “thanks,” date & time, location, amount of money, phone number, and email.

Built-in NLP introduced today is “the first step in bringing NLP capabilities to all developers, enabling brands to scale their experiences on Messenger,” Facebook wrote in a blog post today.

“We have more and more natural language interactions inside of messenger and we want to help third party developers, existing enterprise and customer support, and service centers automate a lot of those interactions, and a big, big requirement to automation is understanding what people are asking,” Messenger head David Marcus told a small gathering of reporters and business partners at Facebook headquarters Wednesday.

“So what we’re doing right now is we have built-in NLP inside of the Send/Receive API that developers here are using, which means that you will get from the API the intent extraction that you need to automate responses, so it’s a big, big deal.

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