Microsoft to hold a Skype bot hackathon in Palo Alto on June 21-22

Laurent Giret

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A little more than two months ago, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Bots Framework, a new initiative that will allow developers to create their own intelligent bots to enable natural language interaction with users across many digital services such as its Skype messaging app. To make developers and consumers more familiar with this new interaction model, the Redmond giant has also already introduced a few Skype bots in preview which currently work like a limited search engine that respond to your search queries. You can check out our hands on preview of the Skype messaging bots below:

While these Skype bots are still only available in select markets (Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, India, New Zealand, Singapore, and the US), the Skype team shared in blog post today that there have been “thousands of conversations with bots over Skype, as well as a huge amount of interest from bot developers building all kinds of fun, interactive and intelligent bots.” As the company now seems ready to push its bots platform to the next level, the Skype team is now inviting developers to a Skype bot hackhaton in Palo Alto in June 21-22. Even better, there will be prizes for the most innovative and engaging bots:

We’re inviting you to come and build an awesome bot at Skype Palo Alto on June 21-22, with the help of the Microsoft bot team and AI experts from Cortana, Bing and Microsoft Research. We’ll have sessions on bot best practices, early access to our latest development tools, great food to keep you going and plenty of swag.  Plus, the most innovative and engaging bots will compete for the chance to win $5,000.

Microsoft seems clearly convinced that bots are the future, and the company previously announced that it is also working on Skype video bots to give users the opportunity to interact with characters and businesses via a virtual personality through Skype video. You can sign up here to register your place for the event, let us know in the comments if you think bots and artificial intelligence can make Skype a better messaging app.