Microsoft planning a cross-platform bot directory


Speaking to Venturebeat, Lili Cheng, general manager of FUSE Labs at Microsoft Research explained one of the major problems Microsoft wanted to solve for developers was the discoverability for their new chat bots.

Microsoft’s Bot Framework  is being used by 45,000 developers but Cheng noted that surveys found one of the top issues for developers was “Hey I made this bot, how am I going to get it promoted?”

Microsoft therefore wanted to work on an open cross-platform bot directory which did not just include bots made with their own technology but was more a kind of bot search engine.

Cheng noted: “We’re still trying to figure out how that would actually work in practice. I think there’s some startups doing, not authenticated directories but here’s a list of bots that you can use that can have been trusted in these disparate networks. Anyway my hope is that we can do something more like search does with web pages than like a very closed directory that just Microsoft owns, and we kind of lean that way anyway because we support all these channels.”

He also wanted platforms to work together to make it easier for developers to create one bot which can work on a variety of different services with Cheng noting “Things will be different just because systems are different, but you know there are way more chat apps than there are like web browsers or mobile platforms, so you know should you be writing a bot for Kik or Telegram or Slack or Facebook or Skype or Skype for Business or web chat or your mobile app, like there’s so many channels. You want the innovation to be in the bot you’re creating, not in figuring out how to make it work across all these different systems, so my dream would be that we could work with a lot of the other people and say let’s standardize on the way we do cards or the way we’re understanding buttons or the way we’re thinking about authentication mechanisms or identification, just so people don’t have to worry so much about that.”

Microsoft was still developing their bot directory idea with Cheng noting “We don’t have a date, I think we need to probably focus a little more on that topic and I think we would definitely want to do it with other companies, we just need to get together and push that topic I think.”

Read more at Venturebeat here.

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