Apple, Google, and Microsoft are also horning in on the time you spend chatting.
Apple has started to make i Messages accessible to third-party apps, such as Open Table and Airbnb, and also more expressive, letting users share hand-drawn notes and custom stickers.
Steve Jobs set things in motion once again with the touch-screen interface.
“Tencent said it’s either you or Facebook that’s going to figure this out, and we think it’s going to be you,” says Livingston.Leveraging Google’s insights into users’ search history and preferences, Allo can, for example, automatically suggest restaurant reservations if you’re messaging someone about dinner.(Facebook, not to be outdone, is training its digital assistant, M, by painstakingly cataloging millions of real-world conversations.) But the most intriguing play may be from Microsoft, which has been an also-ran in the mobile wars.Perhaps no one knows this better than Ted Livingston, the founder of the chat app Kik, which has an estimated 300 million users around the world—among them, 40% of American teens, according to the company.
Boyish and bro-ish, the 28-year-old Livingston was early to spot the potential of messaging, but has yet to cash in on it.
Computer programs that talk with (and like) humans, chatbots appear as voice-controlled assistants (such as Siri or Cortana) and pop up online as customer service “representatives” for major retailers.