Microsoft Cortana-3

Microsoft already offers Cortana, its voice-controlled digital assistant, and a growing army of AI chatbots. Now the company could be cooking up a new bot that can carry out complex tasks from inside almost any popular messaging app.

A recent job listing from Microsoft reveals it has an entire team working on something called Bing Concierge Bot. The post was spotted by ZDNet and it’s already been pulled, suggesting the company wants to keep the new service a secret for now.

Microsoft describes Bing Concierge Bot as a “highly intelligent productivity agent.” The new chatbot would be available over various platforms like Skype, SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger. It could communicate using natural language and carry out complex tasks.

Using Bing Concierge Bot might even feel like talking to a human assistant. Here’s how Microsoft describes one possible interaction:

The user might ask ‘make me a reservation at an Italian place tonight,’ and the agent will respond with ‘for how many people?’; after several such back-and-forth turns it will confirm and book the restaurant that the user picked.

By combining the ability to carry out real-world tasks with the trove of search data available through Bing, Microsoft could create a new digital assistant that can go toe-to-toe with Google Assistant or Facebook M. Offering the new service on a variety of competing platforms could also give Bing Concierge Bot a nice advantage once it’s ready to hit the market.