Microsoft launches Power Virtual Agents, its no-code bot builder

Microsoft today announced the public preview of its Power Virtual Agents tool, a new no-code tool for building chatbots that’s part of the company’s Power Platform, which also includes the Microsoft Flow automation tool, which is being renamed to Power Automate today, and Power BI. Built on top of Azure’s existing AI smarts and tools […]

MediaLab acquires messaging app Kik, expanding its app portfolio

Popular messaging app Kik is, indeed, “here to stay” following an acquisition by the Los Angeles-based multimedia holding company, MediaLab. It echoes the same message from Kik’s chief executive Tim Livingston last week when he rebuffed earlier reports that the company would shut down amid an ongoing battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Livingston […]

New Vector scores $8.5M to plug more users into its open, decentralized messaging Matrix

New Vector, a European startup founded in 2017 by the creators of an open, decentralized communications standard called Matrix to drive adoption and grow an ecosystem around an alternative messaging protocol for instant messaging and VoIP apps, has raised an $8.5 million Series A funding round. Investors in New Vector’s Series A round include enterprise […]

Jobpal pockets $2.7M for its enterprise recruitment chatbot

Berlin-based recruitment chatbot startup Jobpal has closed a €2.5 million (~$2.7M) seed round of funding from InReach Ventures and Acadian Ventures. The company, which was founded back in 2016, has built a cross-platform chatbot to automate candidate support and increase efficiency around hiring by applying machine learning and natural language processing for what it dubs […]

Instagram’s new chat sticker lets friends ask to get in on the conversation directly in Stories

Instagram has a new sticker type rolling out today that lets friends and followers instantly tap to start conversations from within Stories. The new sticker option, labelled “Chat,” will let anyone looking at a story request to join an Instagram group DM conversation tied to the post, with the original poster still getting the opportunity […]

Hubtype raises $1.1M to help developers build richer chat support

Barcelona-based Hubtype has raised a €1 million (~$1.1M) seed round led by Madrid-based early stage VC firm, K Fund. The team last raised when the business was founded, back in February 2016, when they took in €235,000 in a mix of public and angel funding. Hubtype targets enterprises and developers with customer service focused tools […]

Snap is channeling Asia’s messaging giants with its move into gaming

Snap is taking a leaf out of the Asian messaging app playbook as its social messaging service enters a new era. The company unveiled a series of new strategies that are aimed at breathing fresh life into the service that has been ruthlessly cloned by Facebook across Instagram, WhatsApp and even its primary social network. […]

Fleksy’s AI keyboard is getting a store to put mini apps at chatters’ fingertips

Remember Fleksy? The customizable Android keyboard app has a new trick up its sleeve: It’s adding a store where users can find and add lightweight third party apps to enhance their typing experience. Right now it’s launched a taster, preloading a selection of ‘mini apps’ into the keyboard — some from very familiar brand names, […]

WhatsApp adds a tip-line for checking fakes in India ahead of elections

Facebook -owned messaging platform WhatsApp has launched a fact-checking tipline for users in India ahead of elections in the country. The fact-checking service consists of a phone number (+91-9643-000-888) where users can send dubious messages if they think they might not be true or otherwise want them verified. The messaging giant is working with a […]

Facebook’s ex-CSO, Alex Stamos, defends its decision to inject ads in WhatsApp

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former chief security officer, who left the company this summer to take up a role in academia, has made a contribution to what’s sometimes couched as a debate about how to monetize (and thus sustain) commercial end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms in order that the privacy benefits they otherwise offer can be as widely […]