Microsoft jumped on the chat bot bandwagon and is rumored to roll out an AI rival to Google Assistant and Viv soon enough.
Meet Bing Concierge Bot, a productivity tool that can be engaged by users on a myriad of platforms such as Messenger, SMS, Skype, Telegram and WhatsApp.
The company showcased its Microsoft Bot Framework at the Build conference in March 2016. The platform currently supports a number of mono-directional bots, which are apt at doing one task each. Microsoft keeps updating the Bot Directory with proprietary bots such as Caption Bot, Bing Image Bot, Bing Music Bot or Summarize Bot. Check out how the Caption Bot gets it right, most of the time.
Bing is the foundation stone on which Microsoft works to assemble its bots, just as Google uses its own search engine technology to power up Google Assistant. The team involved in creating Bing rolled out quite a few of the services and application programming interfaces that bot developers are getting from Microsoft.
To name just a few of these tools, we are looking at interactive structured data search, academic knowledge programming interface and entity-linking service. Additionally, the Bing engineers contributed to the image and news search, the Microsoft Translator service and recommendations.
One important challenge that the Bing experts faced was to teach bots to tell users' intent. For it to work, the service had to grasp the notions of time and place, first and foremost. Thanks to Microsoft's Satori, each query gets stacked in an entity database. This helps the AI put the piece together and craft future relationships between elements.
Microsoft has an ace up its sleeve due to its roots in the corporate area. With its knowledge of documents and meetings, the company could create bots able to react to complex queries such as "notify me to send the new poster design to the art director tomorrow morning."
While ZDNet reported that Microsoft refused to make any commentary on the Bing Concierge Bot rumors, we look forward to seeing in which form the Bing Concierge Bot lands - whether it will be a standalone app or it will be embedded into one of Microsoft's existing services.
The race is on, and by looking at efforts from rival companies in the bot area, it looks like the AI voice assistants will become integral parts of our lives.