Microsoft recently gifted Skype chatbots with new features, and developers can get a taste of them using Microsoft's Bot Framework.
The most notable upgrade is that Skype chatbots are now group-chat ready, meaning that they are able to reply to messages coming from more than one user in the same chat window. This can make the Skype bot framework resemble the group experience from Slack. What is more, chatbots can make use of cards for sharing images with buttons, receipts and carousels.
Additionally, Microsoft now allows users to use Skype to log in to other apps. The company presented a preview of a Bing services integration, which could make it easier to detect both intents and entities.
Lilian Rincon, the group program manager for Skype, explains that by doing this, natural language understanding can become a core part of Skype Bots, marking a first in the industry.
Microsoft decided to make the developers' road easier, so it integrated its Bot Framework with the Skype Bot Platform. Coders are using the Microsoft Bot Framework to publish their bots to Skype, to submit for promotions in the Skype and Microsoft bot directories. Last but not least, Microsoft granted developers access to a large library of bot-building tools.
Keep in mind that the recent upgrades are the biggest improvements operated to Skype bots since Microsoft announced the Bot Framework in March. By using the framework, coders can build bots for apps such as Kik, Skype, Office 365 mail, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram and SMS.
The ability to craft Kik and Facebook Messenger bots showed up after the annual Microsoft's Build 2016 event. Just a few weeks ago, Facebook talked about including new features for Messenger chatbots. One powerful tool to gather feedback from the chatbot end user is giving it the possibility to use a star-based rating system, something that Facebook Messenger will implement.
In the first month of availability, the Microsoft Bot Framework attracted a whopping number of 20,000 developers. There are currently more than 30,000 developers making use of the Bot Framework to come up with better and smarter chatbots.
While Microsoft offers bots such as Summarize and MurphyBot, a notable presence is Kik's Vision Bot, and you can find it in its Bot Directory. Looking at Skype's library of chatbots, the most prominent names are Hello Stranger 2, Mitsuku and Ava Zoom.
Bots offer coders a very lucrative position in the tech world, so it is little surprise that all big names in the industry are jumping on the opportunity to develop them.