Yahoo Enters the World of Chatbots With a Weather Bot, a News Bot and a Weird Pet Bot

Partners with Kik for launch

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Yahoo has launched its first trio of chatbots, making the internet pioneer the latest to join the craze with its weather bot, news bot and something it's calling a "pet bot."

In a blog post today announcing the new bots, Yahoo senior director of product Jon Paris said the goal is to explore how messaging will "change the way that we all discover and engage with information."

"At Yahoo, we've always built experiences at the intersection of search, communications and content to help you connect with what matters most to you," he wrote in the post.

As you might guess, the weather app allows users to type in their city or ZIP code and find out the day's forecast or get daily alerts. Another bot focused on news provides basic information about trending news topics along with a digest of breaking stories.

Yahoo's weather bot is not the first to enter the Kik marketplace. In fact, it will compete directly with another weather bot from The Weather Channel, which first launched when Kik's bot store opened in April.

The additions are part of the latest wave of chatbots on Kik and elsewhere on various mobile apps. This week, Zootopia launched a new chatbot on Facebook Messenger, and just last month, Paramount launched a Ninja Turtles chatbot to promote the new movie. Chatbots were also a key component at Facebook's F8 event in April, when the social media giant rolled out its own chatbot plans for Facebook Messenger.

According to Kik, more than 6,000 bots have been created on the platform since its launch two months ago. The messaging app now boasts 300 million users, which could provide Yahoo with a welcome and innovative way to spark interest in its various news services.

Possibly the most notable—and arguably the most useless—of the new bots is Yahoo's pet bot, MonkeyPets, a sort of Tamagotchi for the emoji era. The bot "lives" off of the emojis a user sends and sends selfies from its various travels. 

"With care your virtual pet will grow and thrive," Paris wrote in today's blog post. "It'll also teach you a thing or two about emoji and our beautiful world as it shares selfies from its travels."

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.