Microsoft expanded the abilities of its Skype bots today. An official blog post from the company reveals new capabilities for chatbots that are created within Microsoft's Bot framework. Developer uptake has also been strong for bot creations, the Skype bot team confirmed.
Today's Skype bot developer update comes with a number of new features to enhance the experience. Chief among them is the ability to use Skype for third-party authentication for other applications, which means customers can sign-in directly to a card.
Skype Bots can now also support natural language understanding built into them, thanks to integration with Bing services. A blog post by Skype program manager Lillian Rincon says “so that natural language understanding is built right into Skype Bots — an industry first.”
Developers do not have to be limited to Microsoft's Skype service either as the bot framework can be used to create third party content. Developers can now create bots for services such as Facebook, Slack, Office 365 mail, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and more. Microsoft discussed this ability at Build 2016, when it announced integration with Facebook Messenger.
Microsoft has also integrated the Bot Framework with the Microsoft Bot Framework. The company says this single environment allows the bot to be created in Skype and then for promotion to cross the Skype and Microsoft directories.
“Starting today, developers have access to all these new features within the new framework. To learn more about them and how to update your existing bot using the Microsoft Bot Framework.”
The Skype team also announced that since the launch of the bot framework in March, it has found develop support. Indeed, 30,000 developers have started creating bots, with 20,000 of them signing up in the first month.