Microsoft introduces two new services to help developers create smart bots

Microsoft today announced two new services that are designed to make it easier for developers to create smart bots. QnA Maker is a free, easy-to-use, REST API- and web-based service that trains AI to respond to users’ questions in a more natural, conversational way. QnA Maker works in three steps: extraction, training and publishing. To start, feed it anything from existing FAQ URLs to documents and editorial content. QnA Maker can automatically extract all possible pairs of questions and answers, and it allows you to edit, remove or add any pairs, as well as test and train the knowledge base using an easy-to-use web interface.

With optimized machine learning logic and the ability to integrate industry-leading language processing, QnA Maker Service distills semi-structured data like those commonly found in website FAQs into distinct, helpful answers.

It also allows you to review interactions in real time and refine responses as needed. QnA Maker is also available as a template on Azure Bot Service.

The second new thing Microsoft is announcing today is the Bing Location Control for Bot Framework. This new framework allows developers to easily and reliably get the user’s desired location within a conversation. The control is available in C# and Node.js and works consistently across all messaging channels supported by Bot Framework.

Key features include:

  • Address look up and validation via Bing’s Maps REST services.
  • Address disambiguation when more than one address is found.
  • Support for declaring required location fields.
  • Support for FB Messenger’s location picker GUI dialog.
  • The control is open-source, with fully-customizable and localizable dialog strings

Bing Location Control for Bot Framework is available here on github.

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