Introducing a new import feature for Alexa skills

August 10, 2017

We want to make it easy for you to share the conversational apps you build with more users, across more platforms. Starting today, you can import your Alexa skills into API.AI and make them available to other platforms and surfaces such as Slack, Facebook, and the Google Assistant, as well as websites and native apps. You’ll be able to reach new users, while managing a consistent cross-platform experience all in one place.

How it works

Import your skill as an API.AI agent using these instructions. API.AI expands the training data from the skill to create corresponding intents and entities for your agent. You can then customize your agent to work with other platforms. Here’s a quick start guide to help you with this process.

More platforms = more training and improvement opportunities

Once your agent is ready, you can launch it as a conversational app with any of our 32 one-click integration and platform SDK options. By launching to other platforms, you’ll get more user and traffic analytics. These can help you train your agent and improve the user experience on all your integrations, including your original Alexa skill if you export it back.

We hope the new import feature makes it easy for you to take something you’ve already built to reach new and existing users in more ways. And, by developing conversations in one place, also a more consistent and better cross-platform user experience for your product!

Give the importer a try and let us know if you have questions in the API.AI forums or with our Stack Overflow tag.

Pavel Sirotin, Solutions Consultant

2 new features: New Analytics tool and more Google Assistant surfaces

June 14, 2017

Today, we’re launching 2 major features in API.AI to help you improve your agents and reach new audiences. First, you can now track your agent’s performance with our new Analytics tool. Second, you can reach Google Assistant users across eligible Android phones and iPhones.

1. Track performance with our new Analytics tool

We’ve heard your feedback to have analytics on how your agents are performing. Our new Analytics tool lets you view data around session traffic and intent usage. We hope the new tool can help you drive improvements to your agents by identifying usage patterns, latency issues, and high- and low-performing intents. We’re working on adding more stats and functionalities so stay tuned for updates.

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2. Reach more Google Assistant users across eligible Android phones and iPhones

At Google I/O today, it was announced that developers can now reach Google Assistant users on eligible Android phones and iPhones. Starting today, you can use API.AI’s Actions on Google integration to build and launch Assistant apps on these phones.

Example of a CNBC rich card on the Google Assistant

Enter your Assistant app in the Actions on Google Developer Challenge for a chance to win great prizes, including a trip to Google I/O 2018!

Check out the livestream of our Google I/O session tomorrow as we demo these new features. We look forward to seeing how you’ll utilize them. As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Build on,

The API.AI team.

Structure and Content

March 29, 2017

With API.AI, our goal is help you create high quality and engaging agents. Today we’re taking that goal to the next step, adding some new features that will make it easier to build great agents across all of our supported platforms.

Follow-up Intents

Natural human dialogs are filled with follow-ups and confirmations for example:

Agent: Your cab can meet you at the corner of 5th and Broad street in 12 mins.
User: Ahh, can you repeat that please?
-or -
Agent: Do you want fries with that?
User: Sure, sounds good, thanks

Follow-up intents make these types of natural conversation flows easy to build and customize. With this new feature of API.AI you can define dialog situations that may follow any given “parent” intent you are currently working on.

While you can also do this (and much more) by manually defining Contexts, follow-up intents make the process of building sample dialogs easier by being more visual. We’ve thought of some of the most popular follow-up scenarios and taken care of building contexts for you automatically.

To start building Follow-up intents, click “Add follow-up intent” link and select one of the common follow-up options (such as confirmation, request to learn more, selection, etc.) or choose the option “Custom intent” to build a new unique follow-up. Common follow-up options contain pre-populated training examples that could be changed or augmented with phrases specific to your agent.

Finally, in the API.AI console Follow-up intents are nested under parent intents which makes it easier to see your agent conversation structure.

Prebuilt Agents

Building an advanced agent covering a comprehensive set of intents and entities can often be challenging even for the most skilled developer. Prebuilt Agents can help - they are free sample agents that are built by the API.AI team that utilize most of the API.AI platform’s capabilities. You can either use them as they are or modify them as needed to jump start building your own conversational agent.

So, if you are working in travel space, for example, you can use Flights Prebuilt Agent with built-in intents like, “Find a flight from Dublin to Copenhagen on July 16, returning July 23, for 2 people”, and follow-ups like “Actually, returning July 25”. Other agents available include booking, support, weather, TV, music player, and more.

Feel free to import any of the Prebuilt Agents to your account and reuse parts of it by copying intents and entities to your agent or augmenting the imported agent itself.

We will be rolling out new Prebuilt Agents regularly and will be happy to hear what agents you’d be interested to see next.

Happy coding,

API.AI team

Build Conversation Actions for Google Assistant users

December 8, 2016

Reach Google Assistant users on Google Home and soon, other Google Assistant surfaces, with our new Actions on Google integration

Starting today, you can build rich, conversational experiences for Google Assistant users on Google Home and deploy them as Conversation Actions in just a few easy steps with API.AI.

API.AI makes it possible for your service to receive and respond to user queries in natural language. So whether you aim to answer questions or help users to be more productive, API.AI can help you build engaging experiences.

To build a Conversation Action with API.AI, start by defining the user requests or intents that your service will handle. Then design the conversational flow. If you’re new to API.AI and want to develop Conversation Actions, we’ve prepared some handy docs and tutorials.

Once you’ve built your Conversational Action (or if you already have a service developed with API.AI), you can easily submit your integration for the Google Assistant in the Integrations tab.

After you launch, you can update your Conversation Action in real-time based on user interactions, and it will continue to get smarter based on API.AI’s machine learning capabilities.

This is just the beginning – in the future Actions on Google will let you reach Google Assistant users beyond Google Home, including Pixel phones and Google Allo.

With the addition of Actions on Google, API.AI can now support your conversational experience development efforts across 10+ platforms. And with our recently updated free Standard tier and advanced natural language understanding technology, you can build and scale engaging experiences for everyone.

Get a jump start on building conversational experiences using API.AI for Actions on Google and reach Google Home users now.

Happy coding, API.AI team

Freedom of Speech for Bots

November 3, 2016

Since API.AI launched, our goal has been to make building advanced conversational interfaces easy and enjoyable. It’s great to see the growing number of agents powered by API.AI, but we know there’s more work to do in order to be more accessible and enhance the platform’s feature set. Today, we’re making progress towards both of these goals:

First, we’re removing limitations on the number of queries for our Free plan for both public and private agents (bandwidth limits may apply). This means that you don’t have to worry about how much it’s going to cost when your chatbot takes off - you can just savor the moment! And for those of you who need some more premium features - higher bandwidth, SLA, pre-built domains to name a few - we can develop a custom Preferred plan that’s just right for you.

Second, we’ve added features that’ll help liven up your chatbot responses. Starting today, API.AI supports Rich Messaging - cards, images, quick replies - on popular platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and Telegram. This new feature will enhance the quality of your bot’s dialogue, keeping your audience engaged and entertained.

You can also use Custom Payload in your bot response to add payments, confirmations, receipts, videos and other types of rich content supported by the messaging platform.

We can’t wait to see the new exciting conversational agents you build with the help of API.AI. So, what are you waiting for? Start building your agent now.

Happy Bot Building, API.AI team

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