<networking, chat, World-Wide Web> (From "robot
") Any type of autonomous software
that operates as an agent
for a user or a program
or simulates a human activity.
On the Internet
, the most popular bots are programs (called spiders or crawlers) used for searching.
They access web sites, retrieve documents and follow all the hyperlinks in them; then they generate catalogs that are accessed by search engines.
converses with humans (or other bots).
searches the Web to find the best price for a product.
Other bots (such as OpenSesame) observe a user's patterns in navigating a web site and customises the site for that user.
Knowbots collect specific information from web sites.