MIX06: Messenger BOTS
I’m attending the http://www.mix06.com conference this week in Las Vegas and just attended a session on the Windows Live platform. One of the services that peeked my interest was a brief demo given on what are known as Messenger BOTS. The idea being that you can create a service built on the Windows Live Messenger platform that automates responses to user input. Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too until I saw it in action… I think it’s brilliant. Basically, Messenger BOTS allow programmers to create an automated catalog (or anything really for that matter) similar to the automated phone services we all love to hate.
To give it a try simply add the following email address into your MSN Messenger (I think you have to be running the latest version) or Windows Live Messenger (if you don’t have the beta yet you can get it at http://ideas.live.com): firstname.lastname@example.org. Once added, open a new conversation window with this new automated contact… or BOT. Start the conversation my typing “menu” into the conversation window. Now type “1” and you’ll see the conference schedule. Now try entering “who is Bill Gates”… accept the invitation when prompted.
The BOT has been programmed to offer up certain information based on the text/selections inputted by the user into Messenger. The possibilities with a system like this are endless… but immediately I started to think of online documentation, help systems, etc. The mixinfo BOT is being used here at the conference. I’ve already used it to figure out which session I’ll be attending next.
There’s more information on all the foundational Windows Live platform services at http://msdn.microsoft.com/live/.