Dialogflow: Creating chatbots that understand natural language

Dialogflow: Creating chatbots that understand natural language

Franco Brutti

Feb 23, 2024

Feb 23, 2024

Feb 23, 2024

Dialogflow: Creating chatbots that understand natural language
Dialogflow: Creating chatbots that understand natural language
Dialogflow: Creating chatbots that understand natural language

Dialogflow is a tool that allows you to create chatbots capable of understanding natural language through artificial intelligence. 

This translates into better responsiveness to user requests and queries. In fact, chatbots created with Dialogflow are able to carry on conversations and answer complex questions.

If you would like to know how Dialogflow works and how to create your own chatbots, stay until the end of this post. 

We'll tell you all about it. 

What is Dialogflow?

Dialogflow is a Google tool designed for creating chatbots. Its main feature is that it is able to understand natural language, so it can build dialogues and real conversations in a fluent way with users. 

Dialogflow was purchased by Google in 2016 and is integrated with several of its applications, such as Google Home. It is currently available in more than 20 languages and is quite powerful as far as natural language compression is concerned. 

What is Dialogflow for?

Dialogflow allows you to create chatbots easily through a graphical interface. It has a basic version for simple chatbots, and a more advanced version for creating more complex chatbots. So it adapts very well to whatever your needs are. 

Another feature of Dialogflow is that it can integrate with other applications through its API, making it a super useful tool for application developers, allowing their interfaces to interact with users through voice and text using artificial intelligence. 

In simpler words: you can integrate it with your website, database or mobile app in a simple way 😉. 

If you are a developer, you can use code to create your chatbots using frameworks such as Node.JS. Therefore, you will have multiple possibilities when developing your frameworks and integrating them with your applications. 

This is how Dialogflow works

Dialogflow works like any other chatbot: 

  • The user makes a request or a question (input) to the chatbot via text or voice command. 

  • The agent extracts and interprets each of the input parameters. 

  • And then, it returns the programmed response for that input. 

In order for you to have a clearer understanding of how Dialogflow works, you need to understand the basics:  

6 Basic concepts: the most important things to understand Dialogflow

Let's go now step by step so that you understand the basic concepts that allow the proper functioning of this chatbot. Dialogflow is composed of 6 basic elements that you need to know about. 

Let's get down to business:

1. Natural language recognition agents

They are basically the same as a human customer service agent. They are the ones who receive the user's request and in turn provide an answer to their questions. 

Recognition agents are modules in charge of interpreting natural language input by text or voice. These agents divide the input into different parameters to make the query more understandable. 

The simplest chatbots use a single agent. But the more complex ones require several agents. 

2. Intents

As its name suggests, intents are in charge of interpreting the intention of the user's request to offer a more satisfactory answer. To do so, it uses keywords and the relationship between them to be as precise as possible in its responses. 

3. Entities

They are in charge of extracting the parameters and recognizing them to detect what kind of information the user is requesting in order to obtain the value from the database. 

4. Actions

The actions are in charge of making the requests to the API to obtain the information from the database or to connect with the external service. When the user's intention matches the existing parameters, an action is triggered to perform the request. 

5. Contexts

Contexts are the Dialogflow functions that give context to the conversation to make it flow smoothly without the need to repeat the same information over and over again. 

For example, it allows you to interpret pronouns to determine what or who the user is referring to when they use them. 

6. Fulfillment

Fulfillment allows you to connect the chatbot's data with data from a web page, a database or an external application to make the responses as personalized as possible. 

In this way, for example, a user can know the status of his order with all the details by consulting the database of your online store. 

6 Basic concepts: the most important to understand Dialogflow

This is why you should use Dialogflow

Dialogflow has 8 features that represent a huge advantage when developing chatbots for your applications. Check each one of them: 

1. Machine learning

Thanks to its integration with Google technology, Dialogflow has the ability to gather information to better interpret it in the future. By working based on artificial intelligence, the chatbot learns how to better interpret users' search intentions. 

As an additional benefit, it provides you with more than 30 templates so that you can define the type of learning and the way the chatbot learns from users. 

2. Natural language understanding

Another great benefit of Dialogflow is its understanding of natural language, i.e. the way humans speak. Because of this, it can provide personalized and more accurate responses.

3. Conversations and conversations of different lengths

Dialogflow can establish long or short conversations with users. Through predefined phrases, the chatbot is able to answer different questions and chat about different topics. 

In addition, the chatbot can not only answer direct queries, but also enhance the user experience by having "real" conversations with them. 

The intention is to make the user feel that they are being attended to by a human being. 

4. Automatic spelling correction

Users' misspelling is a real problem for chatbots to be able to interpret their request. That's why Google has implemented the create chatbots plugin to find the query intent behind misspellings. 

Have you noticed how Google provides accurate answers in its search engine despite users' misspellings? That same technology is what the plugin uses. 

Score one for Dialogflow! 

5. An easy-to-configure FAQ system

Dialogflow has a system called Knowledge Connectors that allows you to build automatic answers to frequently asked questions in a simple way. 

This technology extracts the questions from the conversation, interprets them and then provides the answers previously set by the developer. 

6. You can connect a phone number

The Phone Gateway will allow you to connect a phone number to Dialogflow so that the chatbot will answer phone calls automatically. 

7. Can be integrated with many applications

Dialogflow can also integrate with many other applications. Here are some examples: 

  • Google Assistant.

  • Facebook Messenger.

  • Skype.

  • Slack.

  • Twitter.

  • Telegram.

  • Viber.

  • Cisco Tropo.

  • Line Kik.

  • Twilop.


8. Fast coding

Dialogflow offers many facilities for developers to integrate their own code. For example, it has its own online editor. You also have the Cloud features to use Firebase. 

You can even add and host your custom webhooks in the cloud.

This is why you should use Dialogflow

Advantages and disadvantages of Dialogflow

Dialogflow is a tool for most customer services. The best thing is that it works through text as well as voice input.

In addition, its natural language understanding and conversational capabilities make the user feel like they are interacting with a real human being. 

But let's take an in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of Dialogflow: 


  • It’s scalable: thanks to its integration with other Google applications, it can easily scale. 

  • It can integrate with multiple platforms: Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Skype, Twitter, etc. 

  • It’s available in multiple languages: it can understand more than 20 languages: English, Spanish, French, Japanese, etc. 

  • It’s compatible with different programming languages: Python, Rub, Node.js, PHP, Java, Go, C#. 


  • Customer support is very limited: Google is not known for its live customer support. So you'll have to settle for getting help from support via online tickets. 

  • Some development processes can be complex: many parts of the automation have to be done manually, so it can hinder the bot's ability to learn and adapt. Strange, considering that the best way to use artificial intelligence is through machine learning. 

  • Limited Webhooks: it is a pity that you can integrate only one Webhook per project, instead of several as the need arises.

5 Steps to create your own chatbots with Dialogflow

To start creating your own chatbots, you need to sign up on create chatbots. In essence, creating a chatbot with Dialogflow is simple. But the more complex the development and integration with other applications, the more complex it will be to create. 

Check out the step-by-step to create your chatbot in Dialogflow: 

Create an agent

The agent will be the virtual assistant in charge of interacting with users. At this point, you have to specify all the information about the agent: 

  • Its name.

  • Its language.

  • The time zone in which it will be active.

  • And if it will be associated to any external project.


Specify the intentions

To define the intents, you must go to the "Intents" section. 

The secret to properly define the search intent is to use keywords that your users use frequently. That way, artificial intelligence will be more powerful.  

For example, to book an appointment use words like: 

  • Book.

  • Today or tomorrow (related to the day of the booking).

These are important for the chatbot to be able to interpret the user's query well. 

Set the answers

In the "Responses" section you will be able to set all the answers. Remember to use variables to match the data to each user's information. 

Develop an entity

In the "Entities" section you can create a new entity. Here we will develop the mandatory parameters for the chatbot. 

Test the chatbot

The last step is to test the chatbot to make sure it is working properly. Once you have made the necessary adjustments, you can integrate it with your applications and get it up and running. 

Conclusion: Is Dialogflow worth using?

Dialogflow is an excellent tool to create your chatbots in a simple way. If you are a software developer, then this tool is for you. 

Another advantage is that the tool has a paid and a free version. The free version is perfect for small projects. But if you want to build something bigger and more complex, we recommend using one of the premium plans. 

And that's it for this post. Let us know in the comments what other chatbot tools you know and which ones you would recommend.