Microsoft-owned Skype has introduced a series of new chatbots for the communications platform that will provide users with automated assistants in carrying out certain tasks.
Last month, Skype’s bots received an upgrade that allowed them to become compatible with group chats, with the bots able to reply to messages sent by multiple users in one chat window. The bots were able to use cards to share information and images, with Skype then allowing users to log in to other apps to access other required data.
Users can communicate with the new bots being introduced by Skype, which will be available for its Web, Windows, iOS, Mac and Android apps, as if they were talking to another person. Skype added that the more users interact with bots, the better they become in anticipating the user’s 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,” Skype said in the blog post that introduced the new bots.
The first new chatbot is the Skyscanner Bot, which is the result of a partnership with global travel search website Skyscanner. Through the bot, users will be able to run searches for flights either individually or for groups. Live prices of available flights will be shown, along with possible routes, within Skype, based on suggestions for locations that users type.
Skype has also partnered with ticket marketplace StubHub to develop the StubHub bot, which will help users find tickets to the events that they want to attend. Through the bot, looking for tickets becomes as easy as chatting with friends.
Another new chatbot is the IFTTT Bot, which keeps users informed on automated messages coming from devices, apps and websites. The IFTTT Bot will send notifications to users depending on the triggers that they choose, such as breaking news articles on certain topics, alerts received on social media platforms, a smart home device detecting changes at home and many more.
Skype has also released the Hipmunk Bot, which provides users with flight and hotel recommendations for trips, along with travel advice, depending on factors chosen by users such as the theme of the vacation or the budget.
Last but not least, Skype has also released the Spock bot, which is a chatbot in the persona of the second in command of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise.
These chatbots, while providing users with a new experience, might not be perfect as of yet. While the bots allow users to perform certain tasks faster and easier compared with visiting the websites of Skype’s partners, there are times when they could prove to be more frustrating and confusing than helpful. As such, while users are recommended to try them out on Skype, expectations on what these bots can do should be tempered.