Microsoft's Cortana now has 230 skills (and Amazon's Alexa, 25,000)

ZDNet

There are currently 230 skills, or supplemental apps, available for Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant, while there are at least 25,000 for Amazon's Alexa. There are only 230 Cortana skills, as of December 2017. And this includes as part of the total more than a few school fight songs. Four ways to explore the use of voice technology for your business. This isn't optimal for Cortana and its fans, to say the least.


Newsletter:Today, It's All About Microsoft

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The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. Microsoft new focus would be Intelligent edge, not Windows.


Cortana gets IoT integration, support for third-party skills

PCWorld

Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant is getting a lot smarter. On Tuesday, the company announced a set of developer tools aimed at bringing it into the internet of things, and adding support for developers to build new functionality for it. The makers of IoT devices like speakers and cars will be able to use a Microsoft software development kit to integrate Cortana into their products. In addition, developers will be able to build custom integrations that add capabilities to Microsoft's virtual assistant. Microsoft is also launching a new service designed to help users simplify the process of scheduling meetings.


Facebook to Highlight Messenger at F8 Conference 4-Traders

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At its annual F8 developer conference this coming week, Facebook Inc. will feature enhanced tools for commerce over its Messenger app, according to people familiar with the matter. The new offerings will use so-called chatbot technology to help users order goods and services through the app, the people said. This will be the second consecutive year Facebook has highlighted Messenger at F8, a sign of messaging's growing prominence inside the company. Last year, Facebook opened Messenger to outside developers, including makers of photo- and video-editing apps, and businesses such as Everlane and Zulily, which use the app to field customer questions and provide shipping updates. Inc., which sells and delivers flowers and food baskets, as a potential partner for the new Messenger services, according to a person familiar with the conversations.


What Are Bots, and Are They The Future? - Mithical Entertainment

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The last few weeks, it's become nearly impossible to scour the latest in tech news without coming across something related to the idea of "bots." Bots, per their current implementations, are bits of software AI geared toward helping users complete tasks, request information or even shop online. Their usage isn't limited to these things and may also consist of programs used to carry out mundane or time consuming tasks that might have otherwise required a human. The idea around bots and their proposed usage is pretty straight-forward. As internet communications, cloud computing and complex machine learning improves, there are companies well positioned to leverage the power of bots to make all sorts of tasks faster and easier for users of modern technology.