Microsoft is building its own version of Google’s “Assistant,” the “Bing Concierge Bot”

Dave W. Shanahan

Microsoft is building an assistant bot that will be able to compete with the recently announced Google Assistant bot. Microsoft’s “Bing Concierge Bot” will be available on a number of different platforms like Skype, Messenger, SMS, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Mary Jo Foley found the news through a job posting on Microsoft’s Career website.

A Microsoft job post that seeks an engineer to join the Bing Concierge Bot team details the specifics:

“In Bing Concierge Bot, we are building a highly intelligent productivity agent that communicates with the user over a conversation platform, such as Skype, Messenger, SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. The agent does what a human assistant would do: it runs errands on behalf of the user, by automatically completing tasks for the user. The users talk to the agent in natural language, and the agent responds in natural language to collect all the information; once ready, it automatically performs the task for the user by connecting to service providers. For example, the user might ask ‘make me a reservation at an Italian place tonight’, and the agent will respond with ‘for how many people?’; after several such back-and-forth turns it will confirm and book the restaurant that the user picked.”

Microsoft already has a handful of preview bots available on Skype using Microsoft’s Bot Framework, including Bing News, Bing Image, Bing Music, Caption, Summarize, and Murphy bots. Yesterday, Kik Interactive unveiled a Kik connector using Microsoft Bot Connector that evolved from a “somewhat impromptu gathering of folks within the industry working on bots that occurred in early April, soon after the Build conference.”

Microsoft has already allowed bot builders to use a variety of Bing services and resources, including interactive structured data search, recommendations, Bing image and news search, and the Microsoft Translator service.