ICYMI: The Bot Invasion Goes Multiplatform (April 20, 2016) Getty Images

ICYMI: The Bot Invasion Goes Multiplatform (April 20, 2016)

Welcome to the middle of the week. Today is the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field's opening day.


The biggest story from yesterday: Skype's new bots are now available on the Mac and Web-based Skype clients.The bots were already live on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Desktop versions of Skype. But the broad platform deployment of the Skype bots isn't the only news. There's also a wider variety:

ISkype also noted its expanded bot selection, which includes Murphy, a bot to find and create images for when questions can’t be answered by words alone; and Summarize, a Bot designed to give an overview of a web page when you don’t have time to read the whole thing.

What's interesting about these bots is how they supplement or replace browser-based tasks and browser extensions.  (Yes, there is a TL;DR browser extension for when you don't want to read the whole page.) By doing tasks that people used to do for themselves, bots may reshape the type of work and play people do via their computer. Companies are moving closer to automating customer transactions that used to be person-to-person. By training people to alter their behavior to a bot's preferences, it won't be long before users are trained to accept customer service "support" from a few lines of code and resigned to negotiating pizza preferences with a bot that's screwed up a few prior orders. 


The most useful news:

Create desktop shortcuts from anywhere in Windows.

If you've ever wanted to save all your current tabs in Chrome for later reading? Here's how to do it.

Cut back on the chatter by muting group text messages on either an iPhone or Android device.


And here's what we've been publishing:

Five Image Editing Apps for Windows 10 Desktop and Mobile — Are there enough image-editing software options in the Windows Store that let you use the same app on both of these platforms in the Windows ecosystem? We found five highly-rated options.

Windows 10 Mobile Development Runs Parallel Alongside Desktop Devices — Now that the development of Windows 10 is across a common code base, Microsoft calls this OneCore, there should be a lot of feature parity across devices plus instances where features are closely tied together and complimentary between PC and Mobile.

Skype Goes Plugin Free on Microsoft Edge — Microsoft has updated the Skype desktop clients for PC and Mac users that enables plugin free calling through the Microsoft Edge browser.

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