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Skype bots get new features and will work in group chats

Engadget Engadget 8/07/2016 David Lumb
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Microsoft announced that it would integrate bots into Skype back in March with the promise that they'd provide useful and fun interactions. In practice, they operated more like search engines that missed out on context. But today, they're rolling them into group chat, meaning you can finally order a pizza straight from your online work conversation. Following the release of Skype Meetings earlier this week, Microsoft is clearly looking to boost the messaging platform's appeal as a work productivity tool.

Most of the new functionality will likely benefit third-party brands who will use the chatbots to offer services. The update lets developers add cards for in-conversation functionality, letting folks do things like reserve hotel rooms without having to leave chat. They can also drop in authentication for users to carry over account and payment information. The last big addition is adding natural language processing to bots automatically, improving their ability to interpret the gobbledygook humans try to pass off as conversation.

Microsoft opened the API-style Skype Bot Platform for developers to build their own back in March. They've since rolled that into the the larger Microsoft Bot Framework, which Skype bot creators can access by updating here.

Skype blog

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