In this photo illustration, the WhatsApp application is displayed on a iPhone on April 6, 2016 in San Anselmo, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP
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The robots are coming – to help run your life or sell you stuff – at an online texting service near you.In coming months, users of Facebook's Messenger app, Microsoft's Skype and Canada's Kik can expect to find new automated assistants offering information and services at a variety of businesses. Microsoft has just created new programming tools for businesses to build bots that will interact with customers on Skype, the Microsoft-owned Internet voice, video and messaging service.Facebook is widely expected to unveil similar tools for its Messenger chat service at the company's annual software conference starting Tuesday. In Asia, many smartphone owners are used to playing games and buying items through messaging services like WeChat, which claims 700 million active users.Tech experts are particularly eager to see what Facebook does with Messenger, since its 900 million users make it the world's second biggest chat platform after WhatsApp, which claims 1 billion users. Both are free to users and don't produce much revenue for Facebook.
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