Azure Cognitive Services has historically had three distinct NLP services that solve different but related customer problems. These are Text Analytics, LUIS and QnA Maker. As these services have matured and customers now depend on them for business-critical workloads, we wanted to take a step back and evaluate the most effective path forward over the next several years for delivering our roadmap of a world-class, state-of-the-art NLP platform-as-a-service.
Each service was initially focused on a set of capabilities supporting distinct customer scenarios. For example, LUIS for custom language models most often supporting bots, Text Analytics for general purpose pre-built language services, and QnA Maker for knowledge-based question / answering. As AI accuracy has improved, the cost of offering more sophisticated models has decreased, and customers have increased their adoption of NLP for business workloads, we are seeing more and more overlapping scenarios where the lines are blurred between the three distinct services. As such, the most effective path forward is a single unified NLP service in Azure Cognitive Services.
Today we are pleased to announce the availability of Azure Cognitive Service for Language. It unifies the capabilities in Text Analytics, LUIS, and the legacy QnA Maker service into a single service. The key benefits include:
The unified Language Service will not affect any existing applications. All existing capabilities of the three services will continue to be supported until we announce a deprecation timeline of the existing services (which would be no less than one year). However, new features and innovation will start happening only on the unified Language service. For example, question answering and conversational language understanding (CLU) are only available in the unified service (more details on these features later). As such, customers are encouraged to start making plans to leverage the unified service. More details on migration including links to resources are provided below.
Here is everything we are announcing today in the unified Language service:
Several customers are already using Azure Cognitive Service for Language to transform their businesses. Here's what two of them had to say:
To learn more directly from customers, see the following customer stories:
On behalf of the entire Cognitive Services Language team at Microsoft, we can't wait to see how Azure Cognitive Service for Language benefits your business!
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