Microsoft to devs: Here's a bigger toolkit for adding AI to your apps

Microsoft is increasing what is available as part of its Microsoft Cognitive Services Suite, it announced at its developer-focused Build conference yesterday.

Microsoft has broadened its range of services that let developers build AI into apps.

The firm offers various cloud-based AI services capable of tasks ranging from understanding natural language to speech and image recognition.

Microsoft is increasing the number of these services, accessible via application programming interfaces (APIs), to 29. Of these new services, 12 are generally available and the rest are in preview, Microsoft announced at its developer-focused Build conference yesterday.

These new additions to the Microsoft Cognitive Services Suite include Bing Custom Search, Custom Vision Service and Custom Decision Service on top of its existing Custom Speech and Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS).

Developers will also be able mine video for data, using the new Video Indexer service, whose features include tagging, indexing, object recognition, and sentiment analysis.

Microsoft also launched its Cognitive Services Labs yesterday, which allows users to try out new cognitive services before they are made available in preview.

These Labs services include Project Prague, a gesture-control API, Project Nanjing, an API for calculating isochrones (time and distance)-based recommendations for route optimization, Project Johannesburg, which enables the calculation of route logistics, Project Cuzco, an API for finding events associated with Wikipedia entries, Project Abu Dhabi, an API for calculation of travel times for route optimization, and Project Wollongong, which helps in evaluate a location's proximity to amenities.

Microsoft is trying to build a cloud-based hub that hosts services that make it easier for developers to create chatbots, as part of its "conversation as a platform" strategy.

This push has also seen Microsoft create its Bot Framework, which are designed to used alongside its Cognitive Services.

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Image: Microsoft