Deals

Google's Emu acquisition could put a smart assistant in Hangouts

Mobile messaging apps litter the online stores, but not all of them offer a Siri-like assistant that listens in on your IM convos and detects what you’re doing — and then helps you do it.

That’s what Emu is and does. It also throws in some Google Now-like features that tell you what’s around you and suggest stuff you might be interested in.

For example, Emu’s A.I. assistant analyzes conversations to help you schedule appointments, make reservations, pull up movie info, and, when needed, share your location.

Google liked Emu so much it bought the company, for an undisclosed amount. The Emu app debuted on Android and just came out of beta earlier this year.

Emu and Google weren’t strangers to begin with. Emu CEO Gummi Hafsteinsson is an ex-Googler. He’s also been at Apple, where he worked on Siri.

Before the acquisition, Emu was venture-funded, having raised $1.5 million from KPCB, Kleiner Perkins, DFJ, and Menlo Ventures, among others.

EMU

The larger story is that mobile messaging has become a high-stakes land grab for big tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. Users, they know, spend unprecedented amounts of time on mobile devices, and big chunks of time using mobile messaging apps.

So the tech giants are all trying to gather as many cool bells and whistles (A.I., video, multiscreen accessibility) into their messaging apps as possible. You’ll see them working hard to bring all that functionality to as many screens as possible, too.

It’s easy to see that Google might try to build Emu’s A.I. assistant into Google Hangouts, which is becoming Google’s central messaging platform.

The Emu app, as it is today, will disappear from the app stores Aug. 25, and already installed versions will no longer work at that time, the company said.

Via: TechCrunch.

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