Reported in multiple sources from a story originally broken by the Wall Street Journal comes the news that Google is developing its own messaging app that would be assisted by its own artificial intelligence technology and chatbot capabilities. According to the Wall Street Journal report, Google has been working on the messaging app for at least a year, though when it might be officially announced, tested, or released remains unknown.
What is most interesting about the announcement is the possibility of artificial intelligence technology being integrated into the service. This may sound ominous, but most likely would just take the form of the messaging app better understanding the context of conversations you were having. So, if you were discussing scheduling, the app would recognize that and be able to access your Google Calendar and help you make plans. Google Search would also likely be integrated.
Additionally, the algorithm, context-aware capabilities that Google specializes in will be a great asset as the app develops. For example, what if you were searching for a restaurant, but you don't like Chinese food? Well, first off, you're wrong, Chinese food is delicious, and second, tell the app your preferences and Google will remember them for future searches. The idea may be to give users the ease and usefulness of a virtual assistant but without the awkwardness or knowledge and ability gaps that apps like Cortana and Siri have.
Another intriguing possibility? Google will allow developers to build chatbots that run on the service, allowing you to access more specialized knowledge directly from another app that has what you're looking for. This will also encourage developers to support the new service and encourage its growth and adoption, which is important, because Google is entering a crowded, and quickly developing, field.
The new messaging app/service from Google comes as a response not only to the dominance of apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, etc., but also to Facebook's M, a similar artificial intelligence-boosted virtual assistant that will actually switch to real human assistance for more complex and difficult inquiries.
If the app succeeds, it will keep users from looking elsewhere, away from Google Search, for information, and it will protect one of Google's core strengths; accurate search results. Considering the deep technological advantage Google continues to have over other tech companies, a move to develop a dynamic and useful messaging app is a very smart move.