A chatbot is a software program used to perform online chat communication via text or voice-to-voice, instead of giving direct physical contact with another human being. It is similar to an online chat except that it uses a computer and the Internet for interaction instead of face-to-face communication. In short, a chat bot is a computer program that can perform many tasks that a real-life person could do. However, unlike a real-life person, a chat bot doesn't give off signals of emotions and/or intentions. This means that in some cases, a chat bot can be used for sinister purposes.
Chat bots are mostly spawned from third-party applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. They are programmed to specific needs based on geographic region, language, and interests. Bot developers create these programs in the form of programs such as Facebook's "Bots" and Yahoo's "Mees". There are Yahoo Messenger bots and Microsoft's Holistic chat bots, among others.
The "Bots" on Facebook allow a user to chat with other Facebook users, as well as with people from other social networks. When a user creates a bot, an icon on the right side of his or her profile page will allow him or her to specify an app id or unique identifying number for the bot to connect to. When this id is given, a chat bot connects to a specific user or profile.
On the other hand, chat bots are designed to act as personal assistants, complete with multimedia capabilities. Many bot creators offer a free basic service to let a user select the types of information he or she wants to receive from the bot and enable the bot to handle it accordingly. Others charge a token fee for the use of chat bots, with any collected money going to the creator of the bot. Some bot services also have a premium chatbot service available to members. Examples of these services include MegaNet and Xbiz.
MegaNet, a provider of voice recognition software, offers both desktop and Web-based conversational applications. This bot, which is programmed by a computer program that meets basic recognition specifications, responds to simple questions about product specifications, or simply asks general questions. The program then suggests appropriate products based on the answers and provides shopping recommendations as a user interacts with the bot. In this way, MegaNet allows a user to search for particular items and shop within its database, rather than having to go through the usual process of searching for a specific item and finding one in the search results.
MegaNet was created by a pair of Carnegie Mellon University graduates, Rob Purdie and Greg Marshall. They used their expertise in providing conversational applications and customer service solutions to create MegaNet. Their goal, according to the MegaNet website, is "to give people the power to help themselves". In doing so, the Bot system allows customers to interact directly with the company's representatives, giving them more control over the conversation than they would typically have with an impersonal computer service. By using MegaNet, a customer service representative can teach people about products and services, answer questions, and even suggest buying options or participate in sales discussions.
One of the uses of chat bots is in improving customer service. A bot can provide a helpful service by identifying problem areas and suggesting solutions, according to Google. Chat bots are beginning to replace customer service assistants in a number of ways. These robots can be used to answer questions or perform other tasks related to customer service, like helping customers find local businesses or helping them select an appropriate store. Chat bots are also being used in other ways, such as helping to resolve conflicts.
In the future, Google plans to release chat bot solutions for other types of online communities. These programs will likely compete with social networking apps, such as Facebook and MySpace. However, it is unclear how these competing services will fare. Google's chat bots are currently only available to the company's existing customers, but many experts expect that they will be made available to users of these social networking apps in the near future. If you're part of an online community and use one of these services, now may be a good time to buy a chat bot for your use. The Google offering is still in testing and maybe released soon, although it's not clear when it will be available to everyone.