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Microsoft has launched a service for businesses to quickly and easily create a FAQ bot customers can chat with inside Bing search results.
The Bing Business Bot service begins by asking a business owner a series of basic questions about their business, like where parking is, how to make reservations, and handicap accessibility details. The service then creates a bot that draws on your answers as well as Bing Places business listing data.
If the bot doesn’t know the answer to a question, it will reach out to the restaurant owner — and remember the answer to the question for future customers.
The simple creation of a bot based on Bing Places information provides businesses with a less technical way to enhance their online presence. The Microsoft Bot Framework is currently used by 130,000 developers to create and publish bots for more than half a dozen chat apps, ranging from Skype to Facebook Messenger.
The new bots-for-businesses service is currently only available to restaurants; however, Microsoft expressed an interest in bringing bots to other sectors at Build, the annual developer conference that took place earlier this month in Seattle.
At the conference, held May 10-12, Microsoft announced that users of its Bot Framework can now publish their bots in Bing search results so that each time a person looks for your business, they get the chance to chat with your bot.
In another recent addition, the search engine is also being used to help people discover more bots.
Search Bing for “entertainment bots” or “sports bots” for example, and a series of bots from Microsoft — but also Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and Telegram — will come up in search results.
Bots have been appearing in search results for a few weeks now in the Seattle area since Microsoft started testing bots on Bing this spring.