Thursday, 7 January 2016

‘You may own Apple’s phone, but you’re using Google’s apps’


Google is trying to tap into the artificial intelligence saga with its new mobile-messaging service to come in par with its rivals like Facebook Inc. Those two companies combined to claim the eight most-used smartphone apps of the year, led by Facebook with 126.70 million average unique monthly users, according to Nielsen.
According to the WSJ, messaging services are among the world’s most popular mobile apps, with more than two billion users, according to Portio Research Ltd. But Google’s two messaging services-Hangouts and Messenger-trail far behind Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China.
The report also claims that Google is aiming to allow other developers to build chatbots that run on the service, so users would be able to receive an answer from an app that has the information they are looking for, potentially allowing cross-app integration as well with Google’s app becoming the central control interface for other apps that support the service.
All that pales, though, in light of Facebook’s “M”, a personal assistant that exists within the social network’s own messaging app. “M” uses Facebook’s own artificial intelligence and natural language processing to understand chats from users and perform actions based on them, such as booking flights or setting a Google calendar requirement, finding restaurant reviews, and more. What is known is that long-time Google employee Nick Fox is heading up the project and is said to have been doing so for at least the past 12 months.
Talking about the use of AI in instant messaging apps, previous year Indian made messaging app Hike launched an intelligent bot named “Natasha” that has a lot of interesting features on offer.
It’s rumored that the new app will allow its users to text chatbot along with their friends and have web search functions to answer questions. When Facebook’s “M” hits Messenger in the coming months, it might arrive with some major competition.
200 Labs has developed a rating and marketplace service for chatbots an app called Telegram that offers hundreds of different chatbos, devoted to different subjects such as image search, weather, dating and news.
Users typically become a member of a messaging service due to knowing who other users are.
WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber, Hangouts, BlackBerry Messenger, Skype, … – do we need another messaging app?
Even though Google is much more than a search company these days – and that’s especially true if you include Alphabet, the recently formed parent outfit that oversees many of Google’s side businesses and technologies – leveraging its expertise in search can help set its services apart. If people can use Google’s backend for information, while getting an ease of use with chatbots, and messaging to others at the same time, Google may have found a combination that will be essential to users of all kinds.

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