VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks all the important and interesting news related to the exploding field of bots and messaging. Each week, we select the top stories and present them in in our free weekly newsletter, BotBeat. We include news stories by VentureBeat staff, guest articles from leading figures in the bots community, and a good number of posts from a wide variety of other outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

It’s widely acknowledged that bots, as a technology, are in their infancy, and this week we looked at how tech giants like IBM and Cisco and are providing investments to help nurture the fledgling ecosystem. It’s marvelous to see the swirl of activity between public companies and tiny startups. Most telling, of course, is the way users are grabbing hold of bots and incorporating them into their lives.

For instance, Conversable and Olo partnered to bring restaurant delivery bots to Messenger, Twitter, and Kik — platforms where many people spend large portions of their day. Or take Borsch, a mobile app that uses neural networks to help people choose a restaurant and what dishes to order. And if you happen to be in India, Niki.ai will help you hail a cab or order food.

Last week, I wrote about the race for voice-activated devices between Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and others. Sonos has now jumped into the fray, but with a twist: The company has teamed up with Amazon to offer the Alexa intelligent assistant from its smart speakers. Amazon gains a large customer base, and Sonos gets access to a powerful technology. Who benefits? The people who choose to access voice-activated services from their living room.

And speaking of benefits, this week we rolled out a revamped Bots Channel to better serve you, our gentle readers. Our goal is to provide 360-degree coverage of bots and messaging. Each day, we’ll present a steady drumbeat of breaking news, features, guest posts, infographics, and videos. We’re also going to provide a regularly updated list of related links from other media sources. (Hey, we can’t cover everything!) It’s a pilot effort, and we’ll be improving as we go. So, please visit the new Bots Channel and send us an email to let us know what you think.

As always, please share your ideas for guest posts with John Brandon, and send story tips to Khari Johnson.

P.S. We hope you enjoy this video of LMFAO star Redfoo as he explains why you should chat up his bot.

From VB’s Bots Channel

horse-your-face Microsoft botA Microsoft chatbot is insulting people again, and that’s a good thing

Earlier this month Microsoft shared news of new bots in the Skype BotShop, including new ones from StubHub, Hipmunk, and IFTTT. Also released that day but not publicized was Your Face, a bot created by Microsoft that combines computer vision, emotion recognition, and facial recognition APIs from Microsoft Cognitive Services. Your Face doesn’t have a name like […]

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graffiti-569265_1280 bot

Amazon, IBM, and other tech giants want to pay you to create bots

Investment in startups that create bots is on the rise, and it’s not just from angels or venture capitalist firms. Tech giants like Amazon, Twilio, Slack, and Cisco are looking for promising projects to support. Together these companies want to invest more than $450 million in bots, personal assistants, and other innovative tech. Amazon The $100 […]

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The personal bot of DJ Hardwell,

5 bots to try this week: Angry Shakespeare, Hardwell, Trulia, Dinner Ideas, and TagOpp

Each week we bring you a few bots we think are fun or helpful or worth the time to try out. This week’s selection includes the personal bot of DJ Hardwell, a bot that delivers insults in Shakespearean English, one to help your career, and one to find you a new apartment. Angry Shakespeare Red-eyed and speaking […]

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Swelly had a robust following after only a week.

How multi-platform thinking helped Swell reach 100,000 users in one month

As I’m writing this, Swelly bot has 33,349 daily active users sending 533,176 messages. It was about two months ago that our team at Swell first thought bots could be an interesting space for us. We’ve always thought of Swell as a multi-platform social network that needs to be accessible wherever the user needs help with […]

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Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet recently shot San Francisco at night from just 7,200 feet.

How this developer built a Slack bot to help him find an apartment in San Francisco

Someday, sooner than you think, chatbots will be deployed to help us with mundane tasks. My daughter, who just got married this past June, could have used one to help her find the best deals on a wedding dress. As I mentioned recently, a college campus chatbot could greet new parents and direct them around […]

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Related coverage

The unexpected ways chatbots could change marketing

There’s an awkward moment at the outset of every new technology when marketers and agencies begin spasmodically craving it. This craving is often blind to whether the investment would solve a business challenge or if that money would be better spent by letting junior staffers roast marshmallows on a giant burning pyre of cocaine. (via Adweek) 

Read the full story

 

How artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple

On July 30, 2014, Siri had a brain transplant. Three years earlier, Apple had been the first major tech company to integrate a smart assistant into its operating system. Siri was the company’s adaptation of a standalone app it had purchased, along with the team that created it, in 2010. (via Backchannel) 

Read the full story

 

Order pizza right from your Twitch stream with Hungrybot

When you’re chilling on the couch watching your favorite esports stream on Twitch and hunger hits, pizza is just a few keystrokes away. (via Engadget) 

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What are chatbots?! 6 things you need to know

People are now spending more mobile screen time on messaging than social media. Go where your customers are with the help of an innovative new marketing tool: the chatbot. (via Inc.) 

Read the full story

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