A couple of news items from Google today: First, the company is reportedly working
on a new kind of artificial intelligence-based messaging service, in an attempt to
compete with Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report said that Google plans to integrate chatbots, which answer user queries from
within a messaging app after searching the Web for information.
The idea is to provide the answer from within the context of a conversation without
having to exit that conversation at any point.
“All users care about is a convenient way to find what they are looking for and if
Google isn’t in front of the consumer that is a problem for them,” said Scott Stanford,
co-founder of venture-capital firm Sherpa Capital, in the article. “Messaging is a subset
of the Internet where Google is not strong. They have to win and be the dominant player
Google has tried and failed to reinvent messaging, email, and social networking several
times in the past decade, including Google+, Google Wave, Google Buzz, Google Messenger,
and Google Hangouts. Google has been struggling to capture users that have moved on to
other services like the aforementioned Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, particularly
in other countries besides the US.
Back in January 2014, Google acquired the British artificial intelligence company
DeepMind for a reported $400 million, after hiring futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil
and acquiring eight robotics firms in the year prior. DeepMind aims to help researches
mine big data in an effort to boost discoveries in medicine, genomics, and more.
And in November of this year, Google unveiled TensorFlow, an open-source machine
learning platform that could boost its deployment of artificial neural networks.
At the time, Google called Tensorflow the company’s “second generation” machine
learning platform, successor to the older DistBelief platform that has led to many
of the company’s current AI-infused products.
Meanwhile, a separate Android Police report said Google has confirmed it’s testing a new
way to log into your account from multiple devices just by using your phone,
without having to provide a password or use two-step authentication:
“We’ve invited a small group of users to help test a new way to sign in to their
Google accounts, no password required. ‘Pizza’, ‘password’ and ‘123456’—your days
That report stemmed from a Reddit user who claimed to be testing the new feature on
his Nexus 6P.
There’s no word when Google plans to unveil its new messaging service or roll out
the phone-based login feature to more users.