Microsoft Bots updated with group and card support

Microsoft has updated its Microsoft Bot and Skype Bot platforms with a host of new capabilities to ensure that its Bot Framework is ready ahead of its official launch at the end of 2016.

The company first announced its Skype Bot Platform in March during its Build developer conference. Currently there are 30,000 developers building bots for its platforms according to Microsoft.

Today's update has given bots the ability to be part of group conversations which will make it easier to utilise them from both a business perspective and when having conversations with groups of friends online.

Skype Bots are now also able to take advantage of visual image cards, carousel cards and receipt cards. The Skype team is currently in the process of enabling single sign-in directly on cards which would allow users to authorise their credentials only once.

Skype is working directly with Bing to give its bots the ability to understand natural language through Bing Entity and Intent detection. Microsoft's Bot Framework received this ability in July when support for its Cognitive Services intent dialogue was enabled. Developers can now publish their bots to Skype using the Microsoft bot Framework. They can even submit them for promotion in both the Skype and Microsoft bot directories.

A number of other updates were also made to the Microsoft Bot Framework including support for Skype calling, Slack buttons and a number of Facebook bot features.

A number of previews of single-purpose bots built using the company's framework have also been made available by Microsoft officials. Its own Bot Directory has also been updated with quite a few bots developed in-house such as the Bing Image Bot, Caption Bot, Summarize Bot and Bing Music Bot.

Developers interested in creating their own bots can do so via the Microsoft Bot Framework and the bots made through it will work in SMS, Office 365 mail, Skype, Slack, Kik, GroupMe, Telegram and on the web.

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