After not-so-popular Hangouts, why Google is working on new AI-powered messaging app

Most of us woke up to the report about Google working on a new messaging app.


Most of us woke up to the report about Google working on a new messaging app.  The new messaging app will be smart and intelligent. It will leverage on Google's artificial intelligence technology to offers chatbots that will message like a real person. Users can ask questions related to weather, news and images, and the chatbot will respond.

Google has been sprucing up its 'Google Now' digital assistant that answers queries, but the company knows how essential it is to take on messaging platform.

Facebook M

Facebook M is the prime reason why Google is building the new messaging app. While leading companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google have their digital assistants, Facebook decided to play on its strength and integrate the assistant within its messaging app.

Facebook leads the pack with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which have billions of people connected. Moreover, M will be a hybrid backed by a team of Facebook employees with customer service backgrounds, called M trainers, who can also make travel arrangements and appointments. This means, it can further give a push to marketing and customer service sectors, and eventually help the company earn revenue. This has compelled the company to build a similar integrated feature, and others could also follow soon.

Hangouts was never good enough

When the search giant launched Google Plus, company's yet another attempt at going social, Hangouts was the only feature that grabbed some eyeballs. Google tried to bring everything – phone calls, SMS, messaging and video conferencing – in one place. But that didn't really work well to attract audiences that seemed more inclined towards WhatsApp, WeChat and others. In fact, late entrants like Facebook Messenger and Hike also seemed to have taken a leap forward.

Going by the most recent figures, roughly 900 million people are now using WhatsApp, the messaging app Facebook bought for $19 billion in 2014, and another 700 million people use the Messenger service that Facebook developed internally. It should be noted that Google had also tried acquiring WhatsApp for $10 billion. Another comparatively new entrant, Hike, revealed 35 million registered users in September. WeChat dominates the China market.

One of the problems was its association with Google+. Google eventually separated Hangouts and made it a standalone app. The company even went an extra mile by allowing users to send Hangout invites to those without Google account.

Leisure vs work

Google, with all the best resources in its tow, hasn't been able to build a good social or messaging app. This also explains its failed attempt at buying WhatsApp at $10 billion, before Facebook acquired it for $19 billion. When it comes to Facebook Messenger, WeChat or even WhatsApp, the apps are usually associated with leisure. Slowly, yet steadily the professional groups seeped in. On the other hand, Google’s messaging service is associated with emails. Users usually prefer to see people from their contacts list rather than their Gmail accounts that are mostly associated with work. GTalk was suddenly replaced with Hangouts and most people started finding it very confusing. Moreover, Hangouts doesn’t show who is online in your phone contacts list, and that is yet another drawback.

This becomes a differentiating factor when it comes to other messaging apps, here. There is no association with SIM, something most users are looking for in the age of smartphones. Facebook Messenger also lets you send a message to just about anyone.


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