Users are looking for more than the humble SMS text message to communicate with friends and family. Our communication requirements now demand group messaging capabilities with the ability to seamlessly share an image or video on the move.

Google Allo Stages Messaging App Competition

Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger are leading the way, but the recent release of Google Allo suggests that messaging has become the new tech battleground. Our love affair with mobile apps is changing because we have so many, often over 50, yet on average we only actually use five of them on a regular basis.

Searching for an app that is hidden in a folder of apps on page 3 of our phones is no longer deemed productive in an age of instant gratification. Our quest for personalization and simplicity has the potential to make 99 percent of apps in their current form completely irrelevant over the next couple of years. Machine learning-powered chatbots are starting to bring a relatively new concept called conversational commerce to life.

Intelligent Features Heighten Conversation

Google Allo can reply to messages on your behalf. The in-app assistant, called “@google,” will also search the internet and automatically make suggestions. This technology has the power to enhance conversations by converging traditional messaging functionality with power of Google’s search engine.

The artificial intelligence behind the app also enables a mobile virtual assistant that will provide directions, news, weather, restaurant or flight information on demand without having to search or bother with using multiple apps. 

Google has notoriously struggled to master anything social. It’s also worth noting that Apple has a distinct advantage by having iMessage installed on every iOS device. Both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have over one billion users. This will make it incredibly difficult for Google to tempt users away from the apps they already use on a daily basis.

However, the release of Google Allo represents much more than just another messaging app appearing in the crowded marketplace. Smart messaging apps and chatbots are a Hard Trend that will continue to grow. They have the potential to be a massive game changer. At present, we have to leave our online conversations to look up information located on other apps or in our web browser. A new generation of smart assistants will increasingly be pulling information directly into your communication channel of choice in real time.

Make no mistake, the biggest names in tech are investing heavily in machine learning and AI for an excellent reason. Although we are at the beginning of this journey, we can be confident that the learning capability will continuously improve and will also upgrade the speech recognition experience along the way.

Reducing The Clutter

Once this technology is also integrated into voice-activated products such as Google Home, Amazon’s Echo and Apple HomeKit, there will be a realization that 90 percent of the current crop of mobile apps are becoming redundant. Our increasing reliance on tech will ensure that our lives and homes will be managed by Apple, Google, Amazon or Facebook, depending on your preference.

Let’s look at the facts: in the last six months alone, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft have invested time and resources into the creation of a bot. Microsoft’s Tay didn’t get off to the best of starts and served as a steep learning curve for developers. But this change in direction suggests that we are moving away from the traditional look and feel of mobile apps and social media and are entering yet another new phase of digital transformation.

The digital landscape is incredibly fragmented at the moment and is the source of a certain amount of confusion. Should Google users know the difference between the messaging apps Allo and Hangouts? From a privacy standpoint, avoiding requests from random strangers makes WhatsApp more appealing as users need to know another person’s phone number to initiate contact. But will the change in terms and conditions and partnership change this?

Integration That Streamlines Usability

Removing the friction and pain points of hopping from different platforms or devices is already well under way. On-demand services such as Netflix and Uber have raised customer expectations and created a new benchmark in the process. Machine learning-powered chatbots might not be on your radar at the moment, but they will play a big part in our immediate future.

The aggressive tactic of simplifying everything will soon render the many mobile apps we have accumulated over the years useless. Businesses now need to be designing the next generation of mobile apps for business and at the same time prepare for the chat wars ahead and adjust their strategy accordingly to avoid being left behind.

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