Google is gearing up to make a better messaging app, according to the Wall Street Journal. If it’s as solid as some of Google’s other recent introductions, this is potentially exciting news.
The new mobile-focused app would reportedly employ artificial intelligence and chatbots in an effort to lure users in. The chatbots would work much like search engine queries; send a message, and you get an answer in return.
This is not entirely new ground for Google. You might recall Google’s SMS service, which would send you back a response based on a query sent to 4004—“Goog.” More recently, products like Google Now have impressively used context clues as well as stored behaviors to accurately predict what you are interested in knowing about at a given time. Might something like this be used in the rumored messaging app?
More broadly, Google’s had a hard time getting into the social space. Currently the company’s main messaging platform is Google Hangouts, which is a fantastic messaging app, actually, but doesn’t really rope people in the way competitors like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp do. Google’s not good at communities. (Remember Google+? lol.)
On a final note, this report is a curious development, especially in light of a recent rumor that Google plans to pull SMS functionality out of its Hangouts mobile app.
Obviously this is all a rumor at this time, but it’s certainly an interesting one. Just because Google’s late to the game doesn’t mean it can’t play catch-up—for example, take the great Photos service launched last year, which surprised everyone. Is a new Google Messenger the next killer app from the big G of Mountain View? We’ll have to wait and see.