Date
23 October 2017
Google has a long way to go to catch up in messaging with the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat. Photo: AFP
Google has a long way to go to catch up in messaging with the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat. Photo: AFP

Google plans ‘smart’ messaging app

Google Inc. is building a new mobile messaging service that uses artificial intelligence and chatbot technology, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

It is an attempt by the internet giant to try to catch rivals, including Facebook Inc., in the fast-growing messaging arena, the report said.

Messaging services are among the world’s most popular mobile apps, with more than two billion users, it said, citing data from Portio Research Ltd.

But Google’s two messaging services — Hangouts and Messenger — trail far behind Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger and the WeChat service from Tencent Holdings Ltd. (00700.HK). WeChat is the most popular messaging app in China.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., plans to integrate chatbots — software programs that answer questions inside a messaging app — the report said.

Users will be able to text friends or a chatbot, which will scour the web and other sources for information to answer a question.

It is unclear when Google will launch the service or what it will be called.

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RC/FL

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