Watch the rollout of enough bots or virtual assistants and you’ll see it: the night-out use case.
You want to go to a movie or restaurant or concert with friends, and OpenTable, SeatGeek, StubHub, and Fandango are happy to help. That’s how Google pitched its assistant in October, and you’ll find the same capabilities in the iMessage App Store for iPhone users.
OpenTable for iMessage lets members of a group vote for where they want to eat. Yelp helps you quickly locate and share the highest-rated nearby bars and restaurants. But Voo pulls together disparate services for a night out into a single place.
Bots like Voo are designed to do away with a common modern experience: Plan events with friends and the experience is scattered between screenshots, Facebook Messenger, emails, your calendar, and a variety of apps and services. Voo lets you bring all the elements into your iMessage conversation.
Thus far, Voo incorporates OpenTable, Groupon, Uber, and coupon app Mogl. Integrations with apps like Eventbrite are also on the way to add concert and event ticketing to the bars, restaurants, and rides home the Voo iOS app, iMessage app extension, and Kik bot currently facilitate.
Voo makes recommendations based on your favorite places and the favorite places of your friends. The app calls on the Google Places API for relevant information such as reviews, maps, hours, and phone numbers.
“We are focused on recommendations, but that’s kind of like the icing part. What we’re focused on is can we actually save you time,” founder and CEO Christian Turlica said.
I’m In, Kukutana, and TimeTree in the iMessage App Store also help share available spaces in calendars in order for groups to plan events.
In the future, Voo wants businesses to be able to reach customers who frequent their business and notify them of special events or offers.
“The end goal for us is we actually have a business portal where the businesses can recommend time-based information to people, so for example from 5-7 there might be a band playing or there could be a special discount for the people that are the regulars there,” Turlica said.
Voo operates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.