Google has a new, “smart” messaging app in the works, the The Wall Street Journal reports. The artificial intelligence-enhanced service could help the search giant better compete against Facebook’s popular WhatsApp and Messenger offerings.
The coming app would enable users to text one another or a chatbot, people familiar with the plan told the Journal. Chatbots are computer programs that scour the Internet and other resources to find and retrieve answers to questions.
Within the app, users will reportedly have the ability to text questions to, you guessed it, Google. That way, they won’t have to leave the messaging app to search the discovery juggernaut for information they’re looking for. The strategy is twofold. First, it could potentially give Google a much-needed foothold in the messaging game and, second, it could help preserve its stronghold as the web’s top search option.
Exactly what Google’s rumored messaging app will be called and when it will be available is not yet known. Google declined to comment.
It will be interesting to see whether the masses take to the “smart” service better than they did to Google Hangouts, Google Messenger and Google+. The company's earlier attempts to break into the globally booming instant messaging market haven’t enjoyed the same widespread adoption as Facebook’s ever more robust contributions to the arena have, nor the popularity of China’s Tencent Holdings’ WeChat.
Google’s latest attempt to put some skin in the messaging game is reportedly being headed up by veteran Googler Nick Fox, the company’s vice president of product management. Fox and his team have been developing the app for at least a year, sources close to the matter told the Journal.