Microsoft now offers 29 Cognitive Services to help developers tap into the power of AI

At its Build 2017 developer conference today, Microsoft announced that it now offers 29 Cognitive Services for developers to leverage in their apps and services. Each available service enables developers to easily tap into some form of AI smarts with nothing more than a few lines of code.

Four new services — Bing Custom Search, Custom Vision Service, Custom Decision Service, and Video Indexer — join 25 previously available Cognitive Services. Developers are even getting a chance to contribute to the development of new services with the Cognitive Services Labs, a newly launched effort from Microsoft to connect developers and researchers working on the future of AI. One of the first services coming from the labs is a gesture API that "creates more intuitive and natural experiences by allowing users to control and interact through gestures."

A push to "democratize AI" has been a major focus of Microsoft for the past few years, and its Cognitive Services are just a part of that. Microsoft is hoping developers will get on board, and so far it seems to have been a success: the tech giant says more than 568,000 developers in more than 60 countries have signed on to use its Cognitive Services since their launch in 2015. Similarly, more than 130,000 developers have registered to build bots for Microsoft's Bot Framework since its launch last year, the company says.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl