Need to plan a trip? Order food, maybe? Or perhaps you need help planning your calendar. Well, there are bots for all of those things.
Bots are all the rage right now, with Facebook reportedly planning to unveil a bot app store this week, and Microsoft having shown off the use of bots within Skype. A new bot store, Botlist, is aimed at a wide range of services — whether you want a bot for SMS, email, Slack, or mobile apps, the service thinks it has what you’re looking for.
Related: Chatbot creators hire poets to make A.I. seem more human
The goal of Botlist is to offer a centralized directory for all the bots you’ll need, rather than having a different place to download bots for different apps and services.
“All current directories are owned by the platforms themselves, having one central place not owned by the platform just made sense,” said co-creator Ben Tossell in an interview with TechCrunch. “People can find all types of bots across a variety of platforms.”
At launch around 400 bots are available for services including Slack, Kik, and Facebook Messenger. There are also bots available for SMS and email. Submissions to Botlist are free, but the company is charging $50 for expedited seven-day reviews. Of course, this fee structure may change, and the creators are even considering charging a fee for those wanting their bots to appear in the “Featured” section.
It’s important to note that Botlist is still very much in development. Some links allow you to download bots directly, but some link to the website of the company behind the bot. Because of this, its hard to consider Botlist a “real” bot store — but rather a big list of bots that you might have more luck finding elsewhere. Still, if you’re new to the concept of bots, Botlist is a great way to see what’s out there.
There are plenty of good reasons why bots are becoming popular. Thousands of new apps hit the app store every month, yet according to some reports, many people are downloading almost no new apps per month. In other words, users are happy with the apps they have. Not only that, but for many, new apps simply take up home screen and storage real estate, so if they’re not going to be used frequently there’s no point in downloading them.
In any case, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for bots and whether or not they can truly take over our smartphones. If they do, however, a central bot directory could be very helpful indeed.