Google’s latest acquisition is a texting app that comes with a built-in virtual assistant. TechCrunch broke the news of Google acquiring Emu yesterday. Emu differentiated itself from the crowded messaging market by implementing a Siri-like virtual assistant based on your conversations.
Here’s how it would work. Say your friend asks you to go out to eat Saturday night. Emu will show you your calendar for Friday night and a button to add the event if you choose. You could even make reservations at the restaurant from your conversations.
Why did Google buy Emu? Well apart from the co-founder and CEO Gummi Hafsteinsson’s close ties with Google (spent five years at the company), Google is always on the lookout for applications that can monitor people’s interactions and then serve suggestions based on them. Plus, Google could always decide to serve ads in the guise of suggestions.
Tech companies main goal these days is to get as much information about you as possible and then monetize it. Emu helps fill one of Google’s biggest voids. The giant search engine already data mines search terms and emails, but hasn’t gotten to chats. The Emu acquisition solves that problem instantly.
Look for Emu’s implementation into Google services soon. Emu’s chat service will shut down on August 25. Google Hangouts seems to be the perfect place for Emu’s virtual assistant feature. I would imagine Gmail chats and text messages on Android phones will also see implementation.
As for us? Well, privacy has always been an illusion. Tech companies are being forced to release emails to authorities, and Snowden showed U.S. intelligence services blanket gather data. Soon, you won’t even be able to text your family and friends without a third-party monitoring for ways to monetize it.