When Facebook’s “M” hits Messenger in the coming months, it might arrive with some major competition. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is building an intelligent messaging service of its own that will utilize chatbot technology, making the service more capable of taking on rivals like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger.
Chatbot integration would make finding answers to questions very simple, but it could be much more powerful than simply asking how tall the Empire State building is.
“Users will be able to text friends or a chatbot, which will scour the Web and other sources for information to a question,” the WSJ wrote.
This will essentially be like having Google search from right inside of your chat, adding a small dose of convenience to conversations. The WSJ’s report says Google will also allow third-party developers to build chatbots that run on the service, turning the search giant’s messaging app into the Oz of AI. Facebook is building something similar with M, using a mix of real people and artificial intelligence to help users complete tasks and find answers.
Google has made moves to enter the messaging market before with services like Hangouts, but usage apparently lags behind some of today’s biggest players by a significant margin. By introducing something completely new, Google starts with a clean slate and a product that will come pre-installed on millions of Android devices.
A launch date and name of the upcoming messaging service is unknown, but the longer Google flounders in the messaging market, the more it will lag behind. Perhaps we’ll see something during Google’s I/O conference early next year.