Microsoft now lets advertisers add chat bots to Bing search results

Microsoft will let you connect with companies and ask questions with chat bots in Bing search.

Microsoft this week launched a pilot program that will see chat bots come to Bing search results. Targeted at advertisers, the chat bot extensions will let companies connect with customers who may have questions using a chat bot extension.

From Microsoft:

As users interact in more conversational ways through voice and search, brands you will reach users in a more natural way through direct conversation, keeping customers informed by asking questions and gaining answers quickly through an intelligent bot. For example, if you are advertising for a cell phone carrier and you know that people often ask questions about upgrading their phone, Bing can answer questions with Chat Bot Extensions right within our main search results page.

Microsoft is testing this out with a limited group of advertisers as part of a pilot program. But if you want to get an early look at the way it works, you can search Bing for Monsoon Restaurant Seattle, which already has a bot extension up and running. Tucked away in the business information box at the top of the results page is the option to ask the Monsoon Restaurant bot for help. Simply click the "Chat" button and a chat window connected to your Skype will pop up in the lower-right corner of the browser window. From there, you can ask questions about things like hours, parking, dietary restrictions, and more.

Bing already does a pretty good job of surfacing useful information about businesses on its results pages, but a more interactive way to field questions could help customers drill down and find exactly what they're looking for more quickly. Expect to see more bot extensions pop up for businesses over time.