Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Microsoft's new acquisition can enhance Cortana's chat bots

Wand Labs’ expertise could help Microsoft beat Facebook and Google at the AI game.
Cherlynn Low, @cherlynnlow
June 16, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Looks like Microsoft has been on a shopping spree. Hot on the heels of its massive LinkedIn purchase, the company announced that it's acquired three-year-old messaging-app maker Wand Labs.

In a statement, Microsoft said that the acquisition would "accelerate [its] vision and strategy for Conversation as a Platform." Unveiled at the company's Build 2016 conference in March, Conversation embeds AI bots into Cortana to let users access third-party services within a chat.

If that sounds familiar, it's because Google and Facebook have since also announced similar plans to integrate chatbots into their messaging apps. Facebook Messenger, for instance, already has bots that let you send flowers, get breaking news and go shopping without leaving the app.

Wand Labs would boost Microsoft's ability to offer more in this space, given the former's experience with "third-party developer integration and conversational interfaces," according to Microsoft. Wand has shut down its messaging app, but screenshots on its website show its ability to pull up third-party services such as Yelp and YouTube from its keyboard.

With the Wand application, you could even share access to apps such as Nest's smart thermostat app so the friends you're chatting with can change the temperature for themselves. That's a feature that Facebook and Google Allo don't appear to have yet.

Just like the LinkedIn buy, this acquisition looks to be a natural fit for Microsoft and could even help it get a lead in the chatbot space. Microsoft may even get ahead of the competition for a change.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Toshiba officially quits the laptop business

Toshiba officially quits the laptop business

View
Our readers get real about their issues with the AirPods Pro

Our readers get real about their issues with the AirPods Pro

View
Microsoft's Surface Duo may launch with AT&T

Microsoft's Surface Duo may launch with AT&T

View
Watch AI-controlled virtual fighters take on an Air Force pilot August 18th

Watch AI-controlled virtual fighters take on an Air Force pilot August 18th

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr