Perhaps slightly behind the curve when it comes to chatbots, Microsoft has recently stepped it up for Skype. First introducing chatbots in April 2016 and introducing partner-inspired bots in August of 2016. Here is a quick look at some of the best.
Summarize basically tries to provide a CliffsNotes version of any URL you send to the chatbot in Skype. This would be a really handy service if it worked properly but a couple of tests left 90% of the article ignored. Each time, Summarize appeared to only summarize the first and second or third paragraphs. This chatbot still has ways to go to be effective but if it could accurately summarize an article it would really be something.
The developers of Murphy describe it as an experimental chatbot that can answer “What if…” questions. I asked Murphy “What if the United States won the World Cup?” and it responded with a photo of several stars from countries all over the world from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with Abraham Lincoln’s face super imposed Mario Balotelli’s face. It’s certainly entertaining. I also asked Murphy “what if Putin was American?” and I got a photo of a Native American with Putin’s face. Murphy requests feedback on his answer each time via emoticons.
IFTTT, short for “If This, Then That,” is a recipe bot which links several accounts based on if-then scenarios. The chatbot is listed as a “Skype Certified” bot but it’s functionality relating to Skype doesn’t have much to do with interacting with the bot via a chat. Instead, Skype is one of the many applications that IFTTT can integrate with. Users will need to register at IFTTT.com then give the bot access to each of the applications for which you want to create recipes. An example would be “if I receive an email via Gmail from my wife, send me a message via Skype.”
Mix4Me is not a Skype Certified chatbot. This just means that it could be a fake chatbot. It doesn’t mean that it is a fake chatbot but Skype Certified chatbots are definitely not fake bots. Mix4Me is a very straightforward “DJ” bot for Spotify users. The developers of Mix4Me aim to save users from “getting tired of hearing the same music.” Once you find the bot on Skype just send a message with an artist or band and Mix4Me will send back a link for a Spotify playlist. The best part is that there it is not necessary to provide Mix4Me with your Spotify credentials.
Also not a Skype Certified chatbot, LightBot is an “answering engine.” Think back to the days of Ask Jeeves and that’s what LightBot offers but via Skype. The only downside to this chatbot is that when you submit a question, it doesn’t tell you that it’s thinking so you’re left wondering if you did something wrong. However, the answers were impressive in a few test questions providing detail and facts.