Skip to main content

Skype now has the smarts to book your trip, order pizza, and more with Cortana

skype build 2016 mobile smartphone ios android
Marcel de Grijs/123rf
Skype has long been a favorite video chatting app, especially for the Windows users among us. The app, however, is about to get a whole lot more intelligent.

At Microsoft’s Build developer conference, Skype Group Program Manager Lilian Rincon showed off the next generation of Skype and highlighted a number of intelligent features that are powered by artificial intelligence. Between bots and Cortana, AI can now help you with booking trips, shopping, and even planning your schedule while you’re in Skype.

Skype will automatically give you a transcript of any video messages that you receive, too. So if a friend sends you a video message, the transcript will appear below the video, so you don’t even need to actually listen to the video if you’re unable to at that time.

Cortana is also making a pretty big appearance in the next generation of Skype, helping you keep track of your conversations, especially on mobile. For example, while chatting with a friend, Cortana might underline keywords relating to people or companies. You can tap on these keywords to get more information.

Cortana can even interact with companies in the Skype app, so that products get delivered to the correct location and so on. For example, your virtual assistant might ask you for permission to share your location with a company’s bot for a food delivery. In this case, you don’t actually interact with the bot yourself, only with Cortana, who relays the information you give to the bot. Within Skype you can also interact with her the same way you would outside the app — for things like scheduling events, search, and so on.

Bots in general are poised to be a big part of Skype going forward. Companies can use bots to interact with customers in ways that previously required customer service representatives. For example, if you’re planning a trip, Cortana can introduce a hotel’s bot into the conversation so you can quickly and easily book a room. If Cortana is aware of context from previous conversations or from emails that you’ve sent or received, it can give dates to the bot for easier booking. The virtual assistant will even suggest friends to connect with that live in the area that you’re visiting.

Of course, Skype is all about video chatting, and bots make an appearance there, too. Developers can create video bots, so that customers can chat with automated characters or company representatives rather than texting them.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Last but not least, Skype is now available for HoloLens. This could be very helpful for things like showing a friend around a new house, getting help from someone for a task, and so on.

Bots will appear the Windows, iOS, and Android Skype apps, although its not clear exactly which features will be available at launch. Developers will also have access to bot SDKs.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
Why you should buy the iPhone 15 Pro instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max
Natural Titanium iPhone 15 Pro with Chopper and BD-1 droids around it.

Apple releases multiple iPhones every year, offering folks choice in terms of size and features. In 2024, the iPhone 15 lineup includes four distinct models.

The regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are great for those who don’t need a telephoto lens and don’t care about the Action button or the 1TB of storage. But anyone who wants a more “pro” experience has the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Read more
Samsung just launched a $400 phone in the U.S., and it looks great
A render of the Samsung Galaxy A35.

A little over a month ago, Samsung announced two new entries in its Galaxy A family — the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35. Both phones made their way to the U.K. and Europe, but we've been left waiting for a U.S. release. Thankfully, that waiting has now come to an end.

As of April 18, the Galaxy A35 is now available for purchase in the U.S. from, Samsung's retail stores, and at "major carriers and retailers." Regardless of where you buy the phone, it's available in your choice of two colors: Awesome Navy and Awesome Lilac. The starting price is a penny shy of $400, putting it well below the Galaxy S24 that launched earlier this year. Interestingly, the Galaxy A55 is not coming to the U.S. at this time.

Read more
Every Samsung gadget we still expect in 2024
A person folding up the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S24 range is out, but don't think that's it for Samsung's 2024. The Korean company still has a lot to share, from folding smartphones to new watches and even an entirely new product range. As ever, it's going to be a massive year for Samsung, and many of its releases are sure to end up as staples on our various best-of lists.

The rumor mills are abuzz with whispers and leaks, and it's giving us plenty to look forward to. Here's the lowdown on every Samsung gadget we still expect to see in 2024, along with when we think they'll be officially revealed to the world.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 (July 2024)

Read more