Jamie Thomson


Hi,

I just stumbled across Windows Live Agents recently and as I think about them I'm getting more and more excited about the possibilities.

So, some questions:

  1. When can we expect to see something on the blog (http://windowsliveagents.spaces.live.com/)
  2. Can I get the SDK Pleeeeease!!!
  3. Is there an API available for Windows Live Agents
  4. What do you think about this idea: http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson/archive/2007/06/17/Windows-Live_3A00_-Search-Macros-in-Messenger.aspx

cheers

Jamie





Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread


Hey,
Cool to see a real post here on the forums.
1. It seems like that blog was created in october 2006, and since then nothing has been changed, so I guess it will not change anytime soon ;-).
2. I can't give you the SDK... And if you would have it, it's still useless because you need to have a valid license to use it. As you can read in the welcome post in this forum, the SDK should be released at the end of this year, so just keep an eye on http://dev.live.com and this forum, and I am sure you will notice it when it is released.
3. Not, the SDK is what you need to build an Agent.
4. I don't think automatically generating an Agent is possible / would be usefull. A "Search Macro Agent" might be possible though. Image you can "add" your favorite search macro url's to the agent, and then you could have a conversation like:
You
search for "new messenger version"
Agent
Which search macro would you like to use
1. jeroenbransen.somesearchmacro
2. ssid.anothermacro
3. foo.bar
You
2
Agent
Results for "new messenger version" are:
1. "Tile of the page 1"
2. "New page"
3. "Mess.be"
How about that
Jeroen





Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jamie Thomson

Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
Hey,
Cool to see a real post here on the forums.
Hi Jeroen,
Even cooler to see a reply Smile
Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
4. I don't think automatically generating an Agent is possible / would be usefull.
Interesting.
Why don't you think it would be possible I want Microsoft to do all the work on this one. The way I envisage it is you set up your search macro (e.g. http://search.live.com/macros/jamiet/ssis) and on this page about the macro it also give you an address to put into your contact list. Simple as that. All the grunt work is done by Microsoft.
Also, why do you think it wouldn't be useful
Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
A "Search Macro Agent" might be possible though. Image you can "add" your favorite search macro url's to the agent, and then you could have a conversation like:
You
search for "new messenger version"
Agent
Which search macro would you like to use
1. jeroenbransen.somesearchmacro
2. ssid.anothermacro
3. foo.bar
You
2
Agent
Results for "new messenger version" are:
1. "Tile of the page 1"
2. "New page"
3. "Mess.be"
How about that
Jeroen

Yeah, I like that idea. There pros and cons of both.

Pros of an agent for all macros:

  1. Its only one extra contact to enable you to get to all macros

Cons of an agent for all macros:

  1. You have to "configure" the agent with the macro you want rather than going straight into querying it. At this point you start to lose the advantage of using an Agent over using a regular web page.
  2. There are thousands of search macros out there. How does the user find the one he/she wants And, more importantly, how long till he/she gets bored of looking and decides not to bother

Pros of an agent for each macro:

  1. The first thing you type is the search term that you are after, no "configuration" necassary.
  2. You don't have to mess about with telling it which macro to use. I see this as being the main advantage of this over a regular web page.

Cons of an agent for each macro:

  1. If you use lots of macros - that means lots of contacts. Let's be honest though, how many macros is the general user really gonna need

One thing is for sure (in my mind anyway) they should do one or the other, not both. That would just confuse the less-tech-savvy audience out there.

Is anyone from the Live Agents team reading this

-Jamie







Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Gruia Pitigoi-Aron - MSFT

Hi,

I think this is a very cool idea. We will definitely take it into consideration as we add more features to our platform. As long as we are brainstorming, it could also be interesting to have a combination of one agent for all macros and one agent for each macro. For example, a conversation could look like this:

User: "search for new messenger version in jeroenbransen.somesearchmacro"

Reply from agent: Search results using a particular macro

Additionally, the conversation could also support along the lines you mention:

User: Search for "..."

Agent: "Which macro would you like to use "

.... list of macros that you've added ...

I'm not saying this is the best way to do it - just an idea.

Regarding the comments about our blog, we are planning to resurrect a team blog. Please look out for some updates soon Smile

Thank you for kicking off this forum!

Gruia Pitigoi-Aron

Program Manager

Windows Live Agents





Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread

Hey Jamie,
I would rather "configure" an Agent one time to use my favorite macro, then adding all different Agents to my list. I already have so much Agents in my list (80+) that I sometimes have troubles with finding the right one, so one more is enough in my opinion. But maybe that just goes for me...
Btw, about the configuring, I was thinking that everybody could have it's own personalised favorites list of macros. So if for example I always use the same one, I can just tell the Agent that he should always use that one, and when I search it automatically chooses my favorite macro (without confirming / asking). If you have 2 or more favorites, it can display a little menu for you to choose. Does that make sense
Anyway, it's good to see somebody from the Agents team posting here, I know that there are a lot of things happening around Agents, and I believe that we can expect many many great things with them in the future. So it's good to have a community going around it, and I will do my best to keep it as active as possible.




Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jamie Thomson

Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
Hey Jamie,
I would rather "configure" an Agent one time to use my favorite macro, then adding all different Agents to my list. I already have so much Agents in my list (80+) that I sometimes have troubles with finding the right one, so one more is enough in my opinion. But maybe that just goes for me...
Each to their own Jeroen, each to their own. Probably the best thing about this is that we DON'T agree - that leads to healthy debate which can only be a good thing (especially now that Gruia has picked up the thread Smile).
Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
Btw, about the configuring, I was thinking that everybody could have it's own personalised favorites list of macros. So if for example I always use the same one, I can just tell the Agent that he should always use that one, and when I search it automatically chooses my favorite macro (without confirming / asking). If you have 2 or more favorites, it can display a little menu for you to choose. Does that make sense
Certainly does - and its a very good idea. I think that';s where Gruia was heading in his/her (sorry - I don't know ) post. Though I still like the fact that with an agent per macro you can instigate the conversation with your search term - I like expediancy.
Clearly we're all on the same page anyway - and that's rare when I suggest stuff believe me Smile
Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
Anyway, it's good to see somebody from the Agents team posting here,
I couldn't agree more. Product team involvement is the lifeblood of any community forum.
Jeroen Bransen - J-Thread wrote:
I know that there are a lot of things happening around Agents, and I believe that we can expect many many great things with them in the future. So it's good to have a community going around it, and I will do my best to keep it as active as possible.

Same here. I've already started the ball rolling within my company about what we could offer around this to our customers.

-Jamie






Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Gruia Pitigoi-Aron - MSFT

Hi Jamie and Jeroen,

Jamie Thomson wrote:

I couldn't agree more. Product team involvement is the lifeblood of any community forum.

We will continue to be involved, I will make sure of that. If product team involvement is the lifeblood of any community forum, an active, involved, and passionate community is the lifeblood of any successful platform.

Jamie Thomson wrote:

Certainly does - and its a very good idea. I think that';s where Gruia was heading in his/her (sorry - I don't know ) post. Though I still like the fact that with an agent per macro you can instigate the conversation with your search term - I like expediancy.
That is the direction I was heading. And I also think it's a good thing to not have full agreement here so that all the options are explored. BTW - I'm a he Smile

Jamie Thomson wrote:

Same here. I've already started the ball rolling within my company about what we could offer around this to our customers.

Thank you both! Please keep posting and discussing ideas. We'll be watching, taking notes, making adjustments, and jumping in.

Gruia





Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jamie Thomson

cool. Thanks for replying Gruia.

I look forward to seeing the blog. The sooner the better please Smile

-Jamie






Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jamie Thomson

Gruia Pitigoi-Aron - MSFT wrote:

Regarding the comments about our blog, we are planning to resurrect a team blog. Please look out for some updates soon

Sooner than expected Smile

http://windowsliveagents.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!5BCD45E519E07634!144.entry

-Jamie






Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Riaanvs

Hi Jamie

First off, I really like your search macros. Cool stuff.

Secondly, we (Inside C) are original bot builders having started about 3 years ago with Buddyscript, which renamed to Converseagent, which renamed to Colloquis, which got bought by Microsoft. Smile

We have an agent, and are working away very hard at the next version (5) which is due to go live July/August this year. We can't give away too much in here but personalisation and searching is a big focus area for us with this version.

When you mentioned the macro searches, I had a quick look. With our new architecture behind our agent I could test some of this and I'm happy to let you guys have a go at it in our Agent. I did a very quick, and very rough, test implementation of using Live Search with a macro from within Messenger like so:

1. The agent is chat@insidemessenger.com
2. Say Hi to it, then type "test live search macro"
3. It will ask what your want to search for (i.e. your search term)
4. It will then ask you which Macro to use

You'll see the result, if there are any.

This way round, you don't need an agent per macro (!) and you can test any macro / search combination.

Note:

1. There is no error handling on this at present, so if you type in the wrongly named macro, or nothing gets returned, it will probably break.
2. This is not exactly public, but feel free tell your MVP friends
3. We do a lot of logging and reporting behind the scenes, so it might be of interest to the developer of the macro how many times it was used, and how many times results found were clicked on - we can do that
4. We'd love to hear what you think. Feedback via the agent (type 'feedback' or email me: riaan.vanschoor@insidec.com)

We are looking for version 5 beta testers, btw. But will load a form on the website for that!

Cheers
Riaan
Inside C






Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jamie Thomson

Riaanvs wrote:
Hi Jamie

First off, I really like your search macros. Cool stuff.

Secondly, we (Inside C) are original bot builders having started about 3 years ago with Buddyscript, which renamed to Converseagent, which renamed to Colloquis, which got bought by Microsoft.

We have an agent, and are working away very hard at the next version (5) which is due to go live July/August this year. We can't give away too much in here but personalisation and searching is a big focus area for us with this version.

When you mentioned the macro searches, I had a quick look. With our new architecture behind our agent I could test some of this and I'm happy to let you guys have a go at it in our Agent. I did a very quick, and very rough, test implementation of using Live Search with a macro from within Messenger like so:

1. The agent is chat@insidemessenger.com
2. Say Hi to it, then type "test live search macro"
3. It will ask what your want to search for (i.e. your search term)
4. It will then ask you which Macro to use

You'll see the result, if there are any.

This way round, you don't need an agent per macro (!) and you can test any macro / search combination.

Note:

1. There is no error handling on this at present, so if you type in the wrongly named macro, or nothing gets returned, it will probably break.
2. This is not exactly public, but feel free tell your MVP friends
3. We do a lot of logging and reporting behind the scenes, so it might be of interest to the developer of the macro how many times it was used, and how many times results found were clicked on - we can do that
4. We'd love to hear what you think. Feedback via the agent (type 'feedback' or email me: riaan.vanschoor@insidec.com)

We are looking for version 5 beta testers, btw. But will load a form on the website for that!

Cheers
Riaan
Inside C

Hi Riann,

Interesting stuff.

A few comments and questions:

  1. It took a long time to respond to my initial "Hi"
  2. It asked me "with which Macro (i.e. jamiet.ssis)". I assume that it will say that to everyone right You haven't done something very clever behind the scenes to go and find out what macros I have written. (or have you )
  3. Then I got the results returned I typed "1". Next message was "I am sorry but an error has occured.My developers have been made aware of this.Please try again soon." But I guess you'll already be aware of this Smile
  4. There's no 'more' option to get results 11-20

It looks like a great start though. I salute you.

I'm providing feedback here so that it is in the public domain. hope that is OK. Would you rather I use email

-Jamie






Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Riaanvs

Jamie

Feedback in the public domain is absolutely fine.

In response to your comments:

It does take a while at present given the load on the current infrastructure; you'll be pleased to know that one of the moves we re making is away from MySQL (present) to MS SQL and also making use of stored procs instead of SQL statements per ASP page. So the initial response should improve dramatically.

The question "with which macro (i.e. jamiet.ssis)" is for all to see at present. This will change however - as I said, we are working hard on personalisation.

It's a shame you got that error. I tested it briefly and got results each time. Your query was "Conchango" and the error behind showing the results for "SSIS Junkie" was quite simply that the XML behind the search results are / were not formatted correctly!

Every single other one ( 2 - 10 ) works fine. As I said, it's a test only with no error handling.

We are currently limiting the results to the first 10 only seeing it's a test.

Thanks,
Riaan





Re: Questions about Windows Live Agents

Jamie Thomson

Riaanvs wrote:
Jamie

Feedback in the public domain is absolutely fine.

In response to your comments:

It does take a while at present given the load on the current infrastructure; you'll be pleased to know that one of the moves we re making is away from MySQL (present) to MS SQL and also making use of stored procs instead of SQL statements per ASP page. So the initial response should improve dramatically.

The question "with which macro (i.e. jamiet.ssis)" is for all to see at present. This will change however - as I said, we are working hard on personalisation.

It's a shame you got that error. I tested it briefly and got results each time. Your query was "Conchango" and the error behind showing the results for "SSIS Junkie" was quite simply that the XML behind the search results are / were not formatted correctly!

Every single other one ( 2 - 10 ) works fine. As I said, it's a test only with no error handling.

We are currently limiting the results to the first 10 only seeing it's a test.

Thanks,
Riaan

That all sounds good Riann. I look forward to seeing a fully baked version.

-Jamie