Telegram has announced the first winners of its bot competition. The BotPrize was announced in April and will see $1 million awarded to developers of the best Telegram bots submitted. The first winners come from the worlds of photo-editing, productivity, games, dating and finance.
Telegram is a messaging service with a focus on speed and security. Launched in 2013, it is cloud-based, meaning that user content syncs instantly across the platforms on which the service can be used, including PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
The firm's BotPrize will help to increase the number of bots available on the service and accelerate the speed with which the number is increased. For the uninitiated, bots are effectively apps in themselves with which users can interact via messaging. They typically run inside messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger or, in this instance, Telegram.
The winner in the photo-editing category is icon8bot, an AI-based bot that applies filters to user photos to make them look like artwork.
Productivity-category winner integram_bot makes it possible to integrate Telegram into developer workflows, for example assigning tasks to team members and setting due dates. It is compatible with third-party services, such as project-management software Trello, repository-manager Gitlab and code-hosting service Bitbucket.
Group-chat deception game werewolfbot won in the games category. The game has various roles that are assigned to players and each player must each try find out who the others are using a variety of in-game commands, with a view to "killing" opponents.
The winner in the dating category was strangerbot, which connects two random Telegram users so that they can chat anonymously. And lastly, the winner of the finance category was octopocket_bot, a bot allowing Telegram users in the EU to transfer money to each other.
The winners each receive between US$25,000 and $50,000, from a total pot of $200,000. Additional groups of winners will continue to be announced this year and next, with subsequent prizes also awarded in batches of $200,000. Telegram says the prize money is intended for developers to continue improving their bots.
For a bot to be considered it must simply have been made using Telegram's Bot API. When picking winners, Telegram says it is looking for speed, usefulness and the ability to query a bot "inline." This last point means that a bot can be called upon for use in any Telegram conversation, say one with a friend, rather than just interacted with on a one-to-one basis.