Microsoft bots will help you order pizza, book hotels from Skype

Demonstrating Skype on a Lumia 950 XL, Principle Group Manager Lilian Rincon showed how companies will be able to leverage the all-new Skype Bot SDK to allow the platform's 300 million users to book hotels, order pizza, and much more via conversations within Skype itself.

Skype conversational bots will begin arriving today on updated iOS, Android and Windows versions of the communication platform, reflecting Satya Nadella's vision to "open up" Skype. Microsoft showed how their own virtual assistant, Cortana, will be ever-present in future versions, allowing users to access all sorts of services using natural language right within the chat window.

Cortana will highlight key terms in your conversations and begin privately messaging you to inquire whether or not you need assistance. To accomplish more complicated tasks, Cortana will communicate with other bots to co-ordinate and deliver the results you're looking for.

Microsoft announced a new open source Bot Framework to enable developers and companies to create all sorts of conversational bots. Microsoft also showed how those bots can easily connect with other services outside of Microsoft's own platform, including Slack, via their new Bot developer center.

Additionally, Skype will automatically provide transcripts of video messages in your native language thanks to Skype Translate, and will allow companies and brands to create video bots to add further personalization to the service experience.

Microsoft's Skype Bot SDK and open Bot Framework previews are now live, with global hackathons coming in May to stir innovation.

For all the latest information from this year's Build, keep an eye on our all-access topic page.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!