Facebook has started exploring the idea of building a digital assistant into its messaging service, but Google might be taking things to the next level with its own artificial intelligence-powered messaging service. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is developing an intelligent messaging service that allows users to converse with chatbots, which will answer whatever questions the user has, much like Google Search. The Journal claims that there will be different chatbots for different types of questions, and third-party developers will be able to make their own chatbots.
For those of you who still hold fond memories of chatting it up with SmarterChild on AOL Instant Messenger, Google looks like it has a project in the works that may catch your eye. The sultan of search is rumored to be developing a new messaging service to compete with Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, and one of its primary features is an army of bots that will let you get in on the chatting action even if you don’t have any friends. In addition to alleviating the crushing weight of your inescapable isolation (if only in a transient and illusory way), these bots will hunt and fetch information for you. Google says the goal is to make finding content more conversational and natural. The Alphabet-owned company is relying on their impressive artificial intelligence research to make these bots dynamic and adaptive. For instance, you might ask one for a dinner recommendation. It may suggest a steakhouse near you, but if you decline on the basis that you’re a vegetarian, the bot will remember this and avoid referring you to meat-heavy establishments.