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June 17, 2016updated 30 Aug 2016 5:52pm

Microsoft adds AI, natural language to messaging apps with Wand Labs buy

News: With the deal, Microsoft plans speed up innovation in Bing intelligence and Conversation as a Platform.

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft has acquired Wand Labs, a mobile message app developer for an undisclosed amount.

With this acquisition, Microsoft aims to accelerate its vision and strategy towards Conversation as a Platform, as disclosed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference in March.

Microsoft says that Wand Labs’ technology and talent pool will help in strengthening its position in conversational intelligence, which is an emerging area in technology today.

The tech-giant wants to combine the power and complexity of human language with advanced machine intelligence for connecting people to knowledge, information, services and in relevant and natural ways.

The company believes that the power of its products including Microsoft Azure, Bing, Office 365 and Windows platform will improve and can empower developers.

Wand Labs was started in 2013 by Vishal Sharma to integrate services into chat experience. The idea was to leverage mobile scale, capabilities of natural language and third-party services which enable users to access and share authorised service or device.

In an interview with Backchannel, Vishal Sharma said: "The wall on your iPhone and Android looks like MS Windows from years ago."

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Every time a user wants to perform a task on mobile, one has to install an app for it and many a times it is difficult to share the information on these apps.

Since it is impossible to copy or paste songs, contacts or food dishes from one app or service to another, the Wand technology tears down app walls, integrates services in chat and makes them work together so that tasks can be performed with less taps.

Wand tries to address this problem by going inside those apps and decode the information into a single readable format.

After the decoding is completed, a virtual version of the app or service will stay as a plug-in inside of wand.

Wand Labs founder and CEO Vishal Sharma said: I’m proud of the work my team has done and what we’ve already accomplished in this emerging space – and I’m delighted to be joining a company that shares our passion and enthusiasm for this new era where conversation is the central focus.

"Making experiences for customers more seamless by harnessing human language is a powerful vision and one that motivates me and my team.

"Our deep experience with semantics, messaging and authority are a natural fit for the work already underway at Microsoft, especially in the area of intelligent agents and cognitive services."

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