Microsoft has introduced a series of partner-inspired bots into the Skype Bot directory on its Android, Windows, iOS, Mac and Web apps. “Currently, we are focused on creating Skype Bots in our directory that deliver interesting experiences, in a variety of scenarios,” explains the Skype team in a press release. “You can communicate with a bot by having a regular chat conversation, in the same way you would when talking to another person. The more you use bots, the better they get at anticipating your needs. We want bots to become the quickest way to handle simple tasks, like shopping or managing your calendar, and the most effortless way to complete complex tasks, like planning a vacation from scratch.”
In July Microsoft announced three key updates to the bot framework, including group functionality, to make chats even more helpful. Now, rather than switching between different apps or clicking through multiple web pages, the bot does the work. Bringing a bot into a group conversation allows users to do new things together with friends, family or co-workers. For example, using a group bot, users can collaborate with friends on a task such as planning a trip or choosing a restaurant or even play trivia together.
“With bots, you can also bring in cards with detailed information and images – from travel destinations to ticket orders – directly into your Skype chats,” says the Skype press release. “New features like cards and groups allow Skype Bots to be more engaging and interactive in your daily chats.
“In the past few months we’ve been working with different partners and developers to bring you new bots that provide great experiences. For example, we’ve partnered with Skyscanner, an industry leader in global travel search, to help take the hassle out of planning a trip. The Skyscanner Bot lets you search for flights either individually or as part of a group, returning live prices and route options within Skype, based on location suggestions like ‘Paris in July’ or ‘Spain’.
“We’ve also been working closely with StubHub, one of the world’s largest ticket marketplaces, to bring you a fun, simple way to find your tickets to an amazing event. Add the StubHub Bot to find tickets to some of life’s most memorable artists, athletes, performers and experiences – all in one chat. StubHub for Skype makes finding your next great experience as easy as chatting with friends.”
The IFTTT Bot will keep you informed with automated messages from the apps, devices, and websites you love based on the triggers of your choice, including breaking news, the weather, social media notifications, someone at your door, and more. Meanwhile, the Hipmunk Bot will inspire your next getaway by giving you the best flight, hotel, and general travel advice based on your specific preferences, such as price, vacation theme, or minimising travel agony.
Skype has forever been changing the way people communicate, from breaking down the barriers of distance with free video calling, language barriers with Skype Translator, to creating special content you can share with loved ones. Now we are thrilled to bring you helpful, creative and intuitive bots to make your life a little easier through your everyday conversations.
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