Microsoft adds info-hunting 'Bot' assistants to Skype for iPhone & iPad

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in iPhone
Microsoft on Wednesday launched "Bots" for Skype, allowing people to search for information and content through the app's messaging functions.




At the moment there are only three official Bots connected to Microsoft's Bing search service: Bing Music, Bing News, and Bing Images. Bing Music, for instance, can track down information about a particular song. Future Bots will expand into audio and video calling.

Microsoft also released the Skype Bots Platform to developers, which will allow third parties to devise their own Bots.

To use the Bing Bots, people must first update their Skype client for iPhone, iPad, Windows, or Android. With the iOS apps, users can then search for a term like "Bing" under the Contacts tab, tap to add new contacts, then select the Bots tab to see a list.

The concept of intelligent messaging-based assistants has caught on with major technology firms. Facebook for example is slowly rolling out "M," an assistant that -- with the periodic help of human "trainers" -- can accomplish a number of tasks, including booking trips and restaurants, or even holding a place in a phone queue.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,330moderator
    Earlier I saw a clip on CNBC of Satya Nadella talking to an audience about the Tay chat bot that went berserk last week.  I know he was talking to developers, but there he was, on the screen talking so much like how MSFT has always spoken about technology.  I can't imagine Apple using the word 'Bots' even once on stage (they give their bot a name; Siri, and even IBM takes the human approach with Watson).  Nadella must have said 'bots' three times in each sentence (I lost count).  I'm not sure MSFT isn't staffed by bots.

    "We envision humans talking to humans, humans talking to bots, bots talking to humans, bots talking to bots..."

    I kid you not.  These guys are still clueless about how technology should interact with people.  I mean, 'bots', 'humans?'  Really?  Those are the terms to use?  After Apple showed the way over the last 40 years, MSFT still doesn't get it.
    jay-tcornchipsockrolidwonkothesaneiosenthusiast
  • Reply 2 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,281member
    Bots = Spawn of Clippy

    sockrolidwonkothesane
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Uh, I think "bots" are, if they perform as advertised, a pretty sweet idea from a company that used to arrive at few. The term "bot" has been used in movies, television, video games...I don't think it's gonna matter what you call them as long as they do something useful. I like this Microsoft and applaud their efforts.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 4 of 10
    All these bots do is give you a bing search result from what I can see

    but in general I think Microsoft are doing an amazing job at the moment. I love Windows 10. For desktop computers MacOS really doesn't compare, I get so much more done with Windows, plus office 365 and in particular OneDrive are great.

    i really only have a mac book because most Windows laptops are crappy design wise in comparison 
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 5 of 10
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,786member
    Funny watching the Microsoft shills show up at Apple Insider.
    One of these guys has just 1 post.

    Hey, MS.
    Way to astroturf.
    Keep it up.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    sockrolid said:
    Funny watching the Microsoft shills show up at Apple Insider.
    One of these guys has just 1 post.

    Hey, MS.
    Way to astroturf.
    Keep it up.
    Contrary to what I have to assume is an embarrassingly low capacity to understand anything but the sounds clanking around inside your own head, there are many of us who enjoy reading more than one enthusiast site because we haven't forgotten that, ultimately, it doesn't matter what OS/Smartphone/Tablet/Computer you use if it gets the job done.  Don't judge a few based on how many self-serving and snarky "nothing but Brand A" posts they've stored here.  This is usually where I'd tell you to kiss my @ss, but that would probably sound improper.  So I won't.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    m_p_w_84 said:
    All these bots do is give you a bing search result from what I can see

    but in general I think Microsoft are doing an amazing job at the moment. I love Windows 10. For desktop computers MacOS really doesn't compare, I get so much more done with Windows, plus office 365 and in particular OneDrive are great.

    i really only have a mac book because most Windows laptops are crappy design wise in comparison 
    Funny that because I get far more done with OSX than I can with Windows.
    Please explain why the GWX software is installed on a fully patched Server 2012? Why would anyone with even half a brain cell want to 'upgrade' from Server 2012 to Windows 10? Come on now, be brave and tell us what you really think...
    iosenthusiast
  • Reply 8 of 10
    m_p_w_84 said:
    All these bots do is give you a bing search result from what I can see

    but in general I think Microsoft are doing an amazing job at the moment. I love Windows 10. For desktop computers MacOS really doesn't compare, I get so much more done with Windows, plus office 365 and in particular OneDrive are great.

    i really only have a mac book because most Windows laptops are crappy design wise in comparison 


    Well, to each his own I guess. The transition from Windows to OS X was a snap for me. I got used to it in a couple of days.

    Earlier this year, I had to transition from OS X back to Windows for work and I'm still getting frustrated with Win10, a couple of months later.

    There's a whole lot of small things that I'd take for granted on OS X that I cannot do with Windows. Simple things like opening a PDF that is password protected - OS X opens it in Preview and lets me enter the password. On Windows 10, it opens up as a dark grey document in Edge, with no visible option to enter the password, so I cannot see the PDF.

    On OS X, I can highlight a word and get the meaning instantly. No such luck with Win10, where the closest option I have is "Search with Bing".

    These are just a couple of examples of small irritants that really add up, especially when you have to spend 8 hours a day using the system.

    And don't get me started on the build quality of the Surface Pro compared to the iPad or the MBA...

    I'm not undermining your experience with Win10. I'm just giving another perspective from personal experience.

    iosenthusiast
  • Reply 9 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,281member
    So far I'm not seeing the real value proposition with Bots that justifies Microsoft's deep investment in the technology. Perhaps these bots will be deployed to make automated phone answering systems so incredibly frustrating that nobody will ever dare enter a customer support scenario ever again - once you've been "botted" you'll never try that buzzkill experience again. Companies can then brag about having zero support calls in response to a product release. In reality, these types of smart agents have been deployed in other areas like stock trading for years and MS is putting a brand-spin on recycled ideas from others, e.g., Cortana vs Siri, Bing vs Google, etc. Microsoft is exceedingly desperate to shake off its image as a crusty old rocking chair dweller whose best days have long since past and surviving on the Office+Windows pension. So they've hired some youngster nerds with nose rings, tattoos, and hair gel and retired the pocket protector generation nerds. Balmer has left to spend more time with his hobbies, Bill G is solving world health epidemics, and the new leadership is trying to find its way without killing the cash cows while cleaning up the mess left by the late career stage experiments from the last regime, i.e., Nokia. The Build keynote did little to change the randomness of directionality or reduce the vagueness of Microsoft's technology roadmap. If what they showed is all they have in flight - whew, not very inspiring.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    dewme said:
    So far I'm not seeing the real value proposition with Bots that justifies Microsoft's deep investment in the technology. Perhaps these bots will be deployed to make automated phone answering systems so incredibly frustrating that nobody will ever dare enter a customer support scenario ever again - once you've been "botted" you'll never try that buzzkill experience again. Companies can then brag about having zero support calls in response to a product release. In reality, these types of smart agents have been deployed in other areas like stock trading for years and MS is putting a brand-spin on recycled ideas from others, e.g., Cortana vs Siri, Bing vs Google, etc. Microsoft is exceedingly desperate to shake off its image as a crusty old rocking chair dweller whose best days have long since past and surviving on the Office+Windows pension. So they've hired some youngster nerds with nose rings, tattoos, and hair gel and retired the pocket protector generation nerds. Balmer has left to spend more time with his hobbies, Bill G is solving world health epidemics, and the new leadership is trying to find its way without killing the cash cows while cleaning up the mess left by the late career stage experiments from the last regime, i.e., Nokia. The Build keynote did little to change the randomness of directionality or reduce the vagueness of Microsoft's technology roadmap. If what they showed is all they have in flight - whew, not very inspiring.
    For some reason, this thread is incredibly irritating to me.  But, I seem to remember a company in Cupertino, CA that was sucking in its last breath when they finally saw the way to whatever was next.  It didn't matter at all except for that they got it done.  I get the impression that, as Microsoft does the same, they could cure cancer and the "D-Bag Sector" here on AI would find a way to whine about how it still isn't good enough.

    As for you, dewme...I have no idea what you THINK you saw yesterday but I'm not sure you're capable of realizing that Microsoft is off to a pretty impressive start to BUILD 2016.

    [INSERT TIRED EYE ROLL HERE]
    edited March 2016
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