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(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.

A chatbot converses with humans (or other bots). A shopbot searches the Web to find the best price for a product. Other bots (such as OpenSesame) observe a user's patterns in navigating a website and customises the site for that user.

Knowbots collect specific information from websites.


(1) See robot.

(2) (roBOT) A search engine program that indexes the Web. See spider.

(3) (roBOT) A program used on the Internet that performs a repetitive function such as posting a message to blogs and newsgroups or searching for information. Bots often reside in the background waiting to respond to certain conditions. The term is used for myriad "intelligent agents" that continuously or periodically perform some function. It is estimated that as much as 60% of Web traffic comes from bots and not humans. See botnet, spambot and agent.

(4) (BOT) (Beginning Of Tape) The status of a tape file when it is first mounted in the drive. See BOF.