The way you add a bot is the same way you'd add a contact; indeed, the Add Contact screen in Skype now has two categories: People and Bots. As of right now, the only Bots available to add on Skype are Bing Music, Bing News, Bing Images, Getty Images and Build Bot (which is mostly centered around the Build conference). They're mostly in Preview mode at the moment (in other words, they're still sort of in beta), but they do appear to be functional.
As you might expect, the chat bots respond to very specific keywords. You're not really having a conversation with these bots so much as you're typing in search queries. For example, with the Bing Music bot, typing in "Hello" would bring up Adele's song (a link to her YouTube video, it looks like) rather than polite small talk. A "Hi" in Bing News brought up articles with the word "Hi" in it. When I asked the Build Bot "What's for lunch?" it responded with different lunch hours instead of what was on the menu. Asking the Build Bot to tell me a joke just prompted it to say: "Sorry Nicole, I'm a BOT with a specific purpose... Build. I don't have the answers to everything. You might ask around or try this thing called the internet." Cheeky.
In short, having a conversation with these chat bots feels a little like talking to a search engine, not a person. Which makes sense because these chat bots are all single-purpose, but it does show that they have their limits. If you're looking for a more complicated answer, it's probably easier to just make a call or look up your answer on Google (or Bing, naturally).
Of course, it's still early days yet for Microsoft's AI strategy and we get the feeling that future bots will be a lot more intelligent. Plus once Cortana is integrated, it'll begin to feel a lot more natural. At least, we hope so anyway.
You can try this out for yourself if you download the latest Skype update for Windows, Android and iOS. Mac users will have to wait for now.
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