Google rumored to be working on Siri & Facebook-like chatbots for new messaging app

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Google is allegedly developing a new mobile messaging app that would include chatbots, capable of answering users' questions by scouring the Web and other resources.

Facebook M
Facebook M


Google VP of communications Nick Fox has been leading a team on the project for at least a year, sources explained to the Wall Street Journal. There's no indication of when the app might launch, or what it might be called.

The technology is said to be similar in concept to the chatbots used by a Telegram, a 200 Labs app. Fox reportedly offered to buy 200 Labs in October, but was turned down.

Google's project will likely let outside developers build chatbots of their own, one of the sources said. The Journal added that people asking questions in the app would be guided towards specific bots.

Such an app could offer competition for Siri, the virtual assistant on iOS devices, as well as Facebook's fledgling "M" service linked to Facebook Messenger. Manned partly by humans, M can not only handle regular search requests but tasks like shopping, travel bookings, or even holding a place in a phone queue.

For Google the move may be a necessary step to keep it ahead in search. If services like Siri and M become dominant, they could potentially cut into Google's marketshare.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    I think it is already in Indian messenger - Hike messenger . Natasha bot .. It will answer to our questions (by text only no voice)
  • Reply 2 of 16
    This would be far more welcome (and more useful to me) than Siri.  

    I would be 100% behind a Siri-based chatbot though.  
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 3 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member

    "Google rumored to be working on Siri & Facebook-like chatbots for new messaging app"


    Siri-like chatbot? Isn't the article discussing something that Siri doesn't offer? 
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 4 of 16
    gatorguy said:

    "Google rumored to be working on Siri & Facebook-like chatbots for new messaging app"


    Siri-like chatbot? Isn't the article discussing something that Siri doesn't offer? 
    No. This is what Siri actual does and has done since iOS 8
  • Reply 5 of 16
    gatorguy said:

    "Google rumored to be working on Siri & Facebook-like chatbots for new messaging app"


    Siri-like chatbot? Isn't the article discussing something that Siri doesn't offer? 
    it's still like Siri in that it's a simulated AI assistant. 

    I remember when Siri first came out and the haters said it was a stupid idea. now all the tech firms are doing it. 
    mwhiteredgeminipalostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 16
    genovelle said:
    gatorguy said:

    "Google rumored to be working on Siri & Facebook-like chatbots for new messaging app"


    Siri-like chatbot? Isn't the article discussing something that Siri doesn't offer? 
    No. This is what Siri actual does and has done since iOS 8
    Siri doesn't do this at all.  "Chat-bot" in this context generally means text not voice. Siri does not do text.  
  • Reply 7 of 16
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    genovelle said:
    No. This is what Siri actual does and has done since iOS 8
    Siri doesn't do this at all.  "Chat-bot" in this context generally means text not voice. Siri does not do text.  
    The point being SIRI does search and that's what Google is concerned about
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 8 of 16
    jfc1138 said:
    Siri doesn't do this at all.  "Chat-bot" in this context generally means text not voice. Siri does not do text.  
    The point being SIRI does search and that's what Google is concerned about
    Oh, well true enough.  I don't give a rat's behind about the Google angle.  I would just be interested in a Siri chatbot because of Siri's poor voice-recognition.  

    If I could open Siri and ask a question in text, I could save a HUGE amount of wasted time.  That would be brilliant.  
  • Reply 9 of 16
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Remember when fandroids said Siri was a stupid idea? They don't. :wink: 

    cityguideredgeminipa
  • Reply 10 of 16
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,352member
    genovelle said:
    No. This is what Siri actual does and has done since iOS 8
    Siri doesn't do this at all.  "Chat-bot" in this context generally means text not voice. Siri does not do text.  
    It easily could, if that weren't such a dumb idea.
    applepieguy
  • Reply 11 of 16
    genovelle said:
    No. This is what Siri actual does and has done since iOS 8
    Siri doesn't do this at all.  "Chat-bot" in this context generally means text not voice. Siri does not do text.  
    Actually Apple has built in "Spotlight" that does text search of local and internet data. THAT is, in my opinion, more of a threat to Google than Siri's searching. However, being able to initiate a search via voice is useful—especially with hands free operation in an automobile, as Google and Apple are driving toward.
    redgeminipalostkiwi
  • Reply 12 of 16
    patsupatsu Posts: 430member
    jfc1138 said:
    The point being SIRI does search and that's what Google is concerned about
    Oh, well true enough.  I don't give a rat's behind about the Google angle.  I would just be interested in a Siri chatbot because of Siri's poor voice-recognition.  

    If I could open Siri and ask a question in text, I could save a HUGE amount of wasted time.  That would be brilliant.  
    Ah, look at Spotlight. It already does natural language search, math, launching app, and also search into app contents like WolframAlpha.
    I agree adding text commands to Spotlight might be useful.

    But Siri voice recognition is very accurate for me.

    I had to go to Settings and set my English accent. Have been using it everyday for navigation, setting reminder, and occasionally text my wife.

    applepieguy
  • Reply 13 of 16
    jfc1138 said:
    The point being SIRI does search and that's what Google is concerned about
    Oh, well true enough.  I don't give a rat's behind about the Google angle.  I would just be interested in a Siri chatbot because of Siri's poor voice-recognition.  

    If I could open Siri and ask a question in text, I could save a HUGE amount of wasted time.  That would be brilliant.  
    Could be an improvement. I've found Apple's voice-to-text dictation capabilities to be far superior to Siri's voice recognition, strangely enough. I cannot even get Siri to recognize a simple request to play music. It's so infuriating I've given up on Siri for everything except for setting timers.

    Merry Christmas, everybody! ⛄️
    edited December 2015 Prof_Peabody
  • Reply 14 of 16
    patsu said:
    Oh, well true enough.  I don't give a rat's behind about the Google angle.  I would just be interested in a Siri chatbot because of Siri's poor voice-recognition.  

    If I could open Siri and ask a question in text, I could save a HUGE amount of wasted time.  That would be brilliant.  
    Ah, look at Spotlight. It already does natural language search, math, launching app, and also search into app contents like WolframAlpha.
    I agree adding text commands to Spotlight might be useful.

    But Siri voice recognition is very accurate for me.

    I had to go to Settings and set my English accent. Have been using it everyday for navigation, setting reminder, and occasionally text my wife.

    Siri has very very poor voice recognition for me and always has.  I've tried fiddling with all the settings multiple times, but to no avail.  And I have an excellent, clear speaking voice and no accent to speak of of any kind. 

    Like you, I have thought it might be down to accents.  I believe Apple expects you to have a Cockney accent for instance if you set the language to "British English," not realising perhaps that there are multiple English accents and many English and British people around the world who have no accent at all, but merely prefer to use English instead of American.  Its been many years now and my suspicion is that Apple doesn't seem to have made any allowances for the possibility that an American might want "proper" English settings or that a Frenchman might be living in China, but using Belgian language settings etc.  It all seems very crudely done and overly biased towards America as a lot of Apple's things are.  

    Spotlight is a good suggestion and the exact spot in the OS where a "Siri chatbot" should actually be located, but it fails also unfortunately.  All that happens if you type in a question in Spotlight is that it presents you with three options: Search the Web, Search the App Store, and Search Maps.  The last two are things I rarely need and even if I did, I could just search within the actual maps app or the store app.  The "Search the Web" option covers the majority of what Siri does of course, but then I could also just open the browser and search there which would be one step less and give the same result.  

    In other words, when you are using Spotlight, you aren't actually using Siri.  There is no connection to any of the sources that Siri uses to get the answer to your question other than the three manual options which are a waste of time as described.  One is far better off just opening Safari and typing the question into the search bar.  Especially since the vast majority of the time, Siri will just take your mangled request and shoot it over to Safari anyway.   

    Also, you have to turn off "Siri Advertisements" (they call them 'suggestions') to use Spotlight without going insane anyway (at least IMO).  You will be bombarded with massive amounts of useless and irrelevant information otherwise (advertisements for local businesses, apps & app services essentially), even though the results for the search will be the same.    
    edited December 2015 gatorguy
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Siri doesn't do this at all.  "Chat-bot" in this context generally means text not voice. Siri does not do text.  
    Actually Apple has built in "Spotlight" that does text search of local and internet data. THAT is, in my opinion, more of a threat to Google than Siri's searching. However, being able to initiate a search via voice is useful—especially with hands free operation in an automobile, as Google and Apple are driving toward.
    As far as I am aware, Spotlight does not actually search "local and Internet data." It searches local data in that it searches the phone itself of course (not really what you want 99.9% of the time), but it doesn't search the Internet per se nor does it search "local" databases or access such information.  It mostly just presents advertisements for local businesses, services and apps around that search field.  It will pop up links to nearby businesses for example whether they have any relevance to your search or not.  It will also pops up app suggestions that relate to those local businesses, but it's all advertising really.  Again, there is no real relevance to your search or your location other than these adverts. 

    If you want your question to be looked up on the web, you also then still have to select "Search the Web" to get Internet results, which as I have argued above, is an extra step as opposed to merely opening the browser and typing your search in there.  At least that's the way it looks to me.  Perhaps there is a setting which I overlooked?  
    edited December 2015 gatorguy
  • Reply 16 of 16
    This new Google feature is designed to compete with Facebook, not Siri. Google has had a Siri competitor for years in Google Now. What Google is coming up with to compete with Facebook (who like Google and unlike Apple is an Internet software and services company) doesn't even have a clear Apple alternative. Instead, people who own Apple hardware are using the Facebook app for this functionality and down the line will consider this Google alternative if it is successful and is also relative to the other apps and services that Google offers. 
    edited December 2015
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