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:

Tech history is rife with epic competition between giants. Think Apple vs. Microsoft,  Nintendo vs. Sega, or Intel vs. AMD, to name a few. But these may pale when compared to the coming fight between messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, and many others for the hearts, minds, and wallets of billions of users. There will also be pitched battles for the world’s workplaces between the likes of Slack, Cisco, Spark, and Microsoft.

Thanks to chatbots and other integrated services, the lines are being drawn. Bots help keep users “inside” the messaging platforms on which they reside, effectively turning the apps into walled gardens. If you and your social circle rely on, say, Messenger to communicate, make plans, and buy things, why would you use any other platform?

The race to be the top messaging platform in markets defined by geography and user behaviors is already underway. As Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa told VentureBeat, “Once a major app has a very significant or high share of the market, it is very difficult to replace it.”

Line and its competitors are betting on the law of big numbers: Become the top messaging app in a particular market and organic growth follows. And when it’s done, they’ll have carved up the world as if playing a game of Risk.

As always, please send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Be sure to visit our Bots Channel for comprehensive news on bots and messaging.

Thanks for reading,

— Blaise Zerega

Editor in Chief

P.S. Please enjoy this video about chatbots and digital assistants that use natural language processing, as demonstrated at Google I/O, Microsoft Build, and Facebook F8.

From the Bots Channel

Azure Bot Service website

Microsoft launches Azure Bot Service to bring more bots and AI into the cloud

Microsoft launched its Azure Bot Services today to give bot creators the option to move their bots into the cloud and let Microsoft handle server and storage issues, the company announced today. Alexa Web Service is cloud-based, but until today, none of the big three cloud providers — Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud […]

Read the full story

A United States flag painted on the wall in the Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco

Visa lawyer bot pledges to ‘help immigrants make America great again’

A bot that helps people complete visa applications to enter the United States has launched in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election. Available in beta on Facebook Messenger, Visabot helps complete the kinds of visa applications typically sought by skilled tech workers and startup founders. “Our slogan is ‘We help immigrants make America great again’, because we believe […]

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Facebook Messenger bots analytics dashboard

Facebook launches analytics dashboard to track Messenger bot performance

Facebook will now allow people with Messenger bots to track them and get detailed information about their bot’s performance and its users, the company said today. The move makes Facebook one of the first major chat app platforms to provide analytics for its bot makers. More than 34,000 developers have made Messenger bots since the platform […]

Read the full story

Make your chatbot a success.

What do users really want, bots or apps?

“Technology” is a word that to many signifies a better future. First we got the internet, then web applications, then apps, and now bots. Apps are old news now, and bots and AI seem to be the next big thing. The dream of the independent developer building a business in the app store is over. […]

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Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa onstage at Web Summit in Lisbon on November 8, 2016.

Line abandons U.S. (for now), says AI and chatbots are the secret to winning 4 Asian markets

EXCLUSIVE: Focusing on what you know best often makes the most sense. In a nutshell, that’s the current business strategy of Line, the popular Japanese messaging platform. In an interview with VentureBeat’s editor in chief, Blaise Zerega, Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa explained his decision to focus on four Asian markets: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. A […]

Read the full story

What Guests don't see behind the scenes at Westworld.

8 technologies in Westworld and when we’ll see them

It seems like every television season plays host to a single show that takes over our cultural consciousness by coating modern fears in fantastical drama. Game of Thrones taps into the cutthroat nature of modern politics, while The Walking Dead plays into our ever-present fear of a worldwide contagion. This year, with Elon Musk’s dire […]

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Related coverage

The Algorithmic Democracy

The day before the election, as millions of Americans were feeling confident that the vast majority of the country shared their opinions, a pair of researchers at the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute published a paper that looked closely at something many of us ignored: the provenance of political tweets. Where do they come from? How many are, in reality, made by humans? And if not, who is designing these crude straw-bots? (via Fast Company)

Read the full story

From Big Data To Insights: What Questions Would You Ask Your AI Chat Robot?

According to a recent Gartner report, by 2020 the average person will have more conversations with AI-enabled bots than they will with their spouse. (via Forbes)

Read the full story

Microsoft’s CEO wants bots and AI in every home

While his feet may have been in Sydney, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s head was firmly in the clouds. Or rather, his own cloud — the company’s cloud computing service Azure. (via Mashable)

Read the full story

Defining our relationship with early AI

Artificial intelligence has fascinated mankind for more than half a century, with the first public mention of computer intelligence recorded during a London lecture by Alan Turing in 1947. (via Techcrunch)

Read the full story

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