While general purpose chatbots haven't shaped user interfaces as radically as early advocates like Facebook may have hoped, when used in a more targeted capacity, they have shown promise in building closer relationships between consumers and brands and making critical enterprise workflows more streamlined. India's Yellow Messenger operates a conversational AI platform used by companies including Accenture, Flipkart and Grab to communicate with employees and customers. The startup is announcing new funding as they officially launch their chatbot platform stateside. The Bengaluru-based company tells TechCrunch they've closed a $20 million Series B led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The startup previously raised funding from Lightspeed India Partners, which led the startup's Series A last year.
Despite a varied portfolio of collaboration services, Microsoft is still struggling to field a strong competitor to enterprise group messaging apps like Slack and HipChat. It has SharePoint, Skype for Business and Yammer, but none of them is really a direct competitor to the slickly designed, GIF-stuffed and bot-laden crop of modern messaging applications. That may be about to change, according to a report from MSPoweruser on Tuesday. Microsoft is supposed to be working on Skype Teams, a new service with group chat capabilities that's a more direct competitor to Slack. The service, currently being tested internally at Microsoft, is supposed to let users chat both privately and in groups.
More posts by this contributor: How to join the network We are approaching a new phase of enterprise software, where every niche of Software-as-a-Service has been filled and cloud companies are being consolidated into larger companies. Markets have a tendency to cycle from bundling to unbundling, and software is due for a bundling event. The cloud, open APIs, next-generation messengers and machine learning are combining to turn the end-user interface to enterprise software into a unified experience. There have been attempts to do this, ranging from portal servers like Portal Software, to "Enterprise 2.0" collaboration software like Jive Software, to communications platforms like Yammer. However, none of these have stuck pervasively because they only solved one slice of the problem, various backends were difficult to integrate, it was hard to work with people outside of the enterprise and there was no machine learning to sift through all the data on users' behalf.
Facebook might announce a new group chat bot feature for Messenger at the company's annual F8 conference in April, TechCrunch reported Wednesday. The new feature would keep users informed about real-time news related to topics such as sports, finance and politics. The report adds that Facebook is working with top chatbot makers for the launch and might open up APIs to allow developers to build other group bots. The group chat bots would be a second coming for the company's bot based features, since it previously launched a bot platform at F8 2016, but the feature did not take off at the time. The report blames poorly developed artificial intelligence for the failure of previous bots.
Security researchers say a misconfigured server owned by the controversial facial recognition company, Clearview AI, exposed its software's source code as well as internal credentials and keys. According to TechCrunch, which first reported on the flaw, Mossab Hussein, the chief security officer at SpiderSilk, a security firm based in Dubai, uncovered a flawed Clearview server storing sensitive data, allowing users to bypass its password protection. Specifically, Hussein found that a misconfiguration allowed anyone to register as a new user and access the database containing Clearview's code regardless of whether they had entered password. TechCrunch reports that, in addition to source code that would allow anyone to use Clearview's software, the database also contained passwords and other keys that would allow one to access the company's cloud storage buckets. Finished versions of Clearview's apps for iOS and Android as well as pre-developer beta versions were contained in those buckets, TechCrunch reports.