UPDATE: Windows Live Agents are no longer active. http://wltbot.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!60040BE340DD32B0!2826.entry?sa=587978100
Windows Live Agents are bots or specifically-made automated responses to a certain topic you pick for. They can ask questions, and your response to the questions, will bring up something. Like if you add a bot designed for chatting about sports, you could ask "How are the Denver Broncos doing?" and it will respond by giving you the latest stats from a certain website or feed it’s getting the info. It’s almost like searching the web for information, but interactive and chatty-like.
Here’s a quick description on how to add a bot, or any other Messenger contact:
- Open Windows Live Messenger
- Click on the Add Contact button next to the search box
- Enter in the e-mail address of the bot (you can find bots on Windows Live Gallery or Wikipedia) in the box where it asks for the address
- Edit as much details as needed or just simply keep hitting Next until you hit OK.
- The bot should be available on your contacts list (might take awhile) and you can just double-click on the bot and start chatting!
So here’s the 5 best ones I like:
1. SmarterChild ( email@example.com ) – He can practically do everything. From things like giving you pretty much real simple answers, games, tools, and even gives you the latest stats on itself. All in one bot. Most people have already heard of it.
2. Encarta Instant Answers ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) – This is all about the encyclopedia. Ask a capital of a country, who wrote what famous books, famous people, and all that. It even loads up the Encarta Encyclopedia on the Activity pane.
3. Muse ( email@example.com ) – If you don’t remember Muse, she was made by Windows Live to help spark some interests into doing what Live Spaces is really more about : Blogging. She’s suppose to give you some ideas to help you get jumpstarted on blogging. She looks very similar to a Where’s Waldo character. She has a 2-post blog. She’s kind of died off though, but her WLM bot still exists. She’ll help you get some ideas with the Though of the Day, and you can even make a blog post in the activity pane.
4. Poynt ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) – This is one of those services you wonder why Microsoft didn’t make one. It’s basically like Live Local for Messenger. You can look up businesses and get an instant map of it. Unfortunately, when I opened the activity pane to check out the map, it wouldn’t work. It said I needed IE6+. I have IE7 and Safari installed, but I guess it doesn’t detect it. I used it before though, and it worked very good. Here’s an image from the company site:
5. Hacker ( email@example.com ) – Hacker is yet another multi-utility bot. It can do Live Searching, games, and guides you through what you can do on WLM. Simple stuff.
There’s really not much to say about bots, except the basics. Overall, bots are kind of fun, but if you really want information, just do web searching in your browser. I still don’t find them too intelligent, and even SmarterChild has lost some of his luster. Some bots don’t even function right when you type in a number choice. The only bots I’m personally interested in, are actual conversational bots. I haven’t found any for WLM though. But these bots do a fine job as it is. Give them a try. Just add them.
There’s also another neat bot that recently came about called the Windows Live Translator bot ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). It will be called TBot in your contact list, and it can translate what you type as you talk to it. It takes it awhile to translate though.
Wikipedia has a great list of bots. Though some of them don’t seem to work at all, or with the latest version of WLM.
Here’s the team blog.