Google may be the company behind the most popular mobile operating on the planet, but it’s not doing so hot when it comes to messaging software. Despite the presence of Google’s own apps like Hangouts, users have instead flocked to third-party solutions. Now a new report claims that Google could be about to try something pretty unusual for its next-gen messaging system, inviting users to interact with variety of AI-powered chatbots.

If that sounds a little weird to your ears – don’t worry; you’re not alone.

From what The Wall Street Journal describes, this new messaging system sounds like what would happen if Google took the Hangouts it has now and integrated it with the kind of natural-language processing we use in its search and Google Now services. Instead of saying “OK, Google,” and asking your phone for help finding a nearby restaurant, you’d instead fire off an IM to one of these chatbots.

Users could expect a service populated by a number of different intelligent chatbots, with Google inviting third-party developers to build their own. Some kind of search functionality would direct users to the bot best equipped to answer their particular query.

No one’s doubting that Google could use some help drawing users to its messaging services, and we’ve certainly seen recent evidence suggesting the company’s seriously rethinking its Android messaging strategy, but is this really where its efforts are heading? Perhaps we’re missing some key component of the company’s plans, but from the description we’ve heard, this sounds quite a bit more cumbersome than the one-stop-shop voice-search we already have on our phones. Then again, maybe the novelty of really fleshed-out artificial intelligence could engage with users in a way Google Now just hasn’t been able to. At the least, we’re curious to see where this rumor leads.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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