More than four months ago, Microsoft unveiled plans to add a bot framework to Skype, letting users chat directly with bots to do things like book trips and buy tickets to shows. Today, that plan has become reality as Microsoft released its first series of Skype Bots.
“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,” according to a post on the Skype Garage Blog.
As it was getting close to releasing the first bots, Skype added the ability for groups to interact with bots to put together a trip or find the best restaurants. One of the main goals is to make it possible to plan and complete tasks without leaving the app.
Microsoft opened the framework up to developers, and the company said 30,000 developers are building bots on the platform.
Here are a few of the bots made available on Skype’s Android, Windows, iOS, Mac and Web apps Wednesday, according to Microsoft’s blog:
Helpful experiences like the Hipmunk Bot, a group bot, that helps you and your friends collaborate on a task such as voting on a trip to take or simply choosing a restaurant together. The Skyscanner Bot lets you search for flights either individually or as part of a group, returning live prices and route options within Skype. And the StubHub Bot works on your behalf to find the perfect concert ticket.
And more from the Skype Garage Blog:
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.
You can even take a virtual Trek to the Stars! Chat with Spock, second in command of the USS Enterprise, to learn the ways of Vulcan logic.
The bots are part of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s vision for “Conversation as a Platform,” which he announced at this year’s Microsoft Build Conference. This philosophy involves using technology to complement everyday conversations.
“We envision a world where digital experiences mirror the way people interact with one another today,” Gurdeep Paul, senior vice president of Skype, wrote on Microsoft’s blog. “A world where language will become the new user interface, bots are the new apps, digital assistants are like meta apps or browsers, and intelligence will be infused throughout all interactions.”