Microsoft has spent a large part of this year focusing on its bot efforts within Skype. While a number of new messaging bots like Expedia and UPS are starting to appear in Skype, Microsoft has bigger plans for next year. “Soon our partners will be able to create talking bots with the general availability of the Skype calling API,” says a Skype spokesperson. “That means users will be able to interact with bots that can actually speak to you.”
The talking bots will allow companies to create services that call and interact with users, and it’s possible that Skype could even provide its real-time translation service to these bots in the future. Microsoft is also planning to allow bots to interact with video, audio, and even GIFs in chat conversations, but the talking bots feature will be the key new addition next year.