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A little more conversation

We helped Skype create an eclectic, engaging set of chatbots that got people talking.

Conversational interfaces are proliferating. From traffic updates to pizza deliveries, more and more brands are using natural language – spoken and written – to get things done.

But most of these interactions are dry and functional. Skype wanted to show developers – and their billion users – what a bit of character could do. So they came to us.

A botley crew

We created a range of chatbots over the course of a year.

For example, there was Your Face, which used a Microsoft AI to give a somewhat direct summary of any face image uploaded to it.

The software could guess age and gender, and spot specific features (as well as famous faces). Your Face turned that functionality into slightly crabby judgements like ‘You’ve got a politician’s smile and a moustache that’s never seen a comb in its life.’

We also created a quiz bot, a poker game bot, and MemeCat – a feline bot that helps you build memes.

Then we worked with Skype and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s team to create Heston Bot – the world’s first chef-bot. This guided users through recipes, hints, tips, and personal stories.

Finally, we helped create Spikes: a bot for athletics fans attending the IAAF World Championships. Spikes delivered real-time news, results, facts, quizzes, and more.

Words and deeds

These bots aimed to show the range of things chatbots could do, and encourage developers to create their own.

Your Face got a great write up in VentureBeat. And Heston drew lots of press and praise, too.

Meanwhile, thousands of people who attended the IAAF World Championships got closer than ever to the action.

Heston Bot, the chatbot for celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal
Spikes delivered real-time news from the IAAF athletics championships
The grumpy character who judges Your Face