Google I/O’s annual three-day conference consistently reveals the company’s new, captivating projects and products for the upcoming year.
This past week, predictions for what this year’s conference will hold have been swirling – from additional information about Android N to the introduction of Android VR and finally an upgrade to Google’s own messaging platform – GChat. What’s most exciting, in my opinion, is the new messaging platform. It looks like Google is truly realizing the power and significance of mobile messaging.
Google has made recent efforts to better establish its mark in the mobile messaging space, particularly following its acquisition of Jibe Mobile late last year. After seeing the success of other mobile messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, iMessage and WhatsApp, it’s no surprise that Google may finally be presenting a significant upgrade to its own mobile messaging app – or maybe even an entirely new one – that is rumored to include its own chat bot, like NetSfere’s Net-C.
This is Google’s best shot at providing a compelling messaging app that people will actually use. Here are a two considerations that will ultimately decide its success or failure:
Entering a crowded arena
One major disadvantage is that Google will now be entering into an increasingly crowded industry that has seen significant development in recent years. Although messaging apps and chat bots are still on the rise, companies such as Facebook and Apple are currently dominating the space and consumers have already made their choices in regards to what platform they use on a daily basis. To make an impact, Google will need to present a compelling product that carries significant differentiators than the dominant solutions currently available.
But Google has one major advantage – it obviously controls the Android operating system. This means that Google can mandate its newest app on the Android platform, giving its mobile messaging app global strength. Google can then ride on the coattails of this widespread implementation, including its play in the RCS space, to gain an opportunity to partner with carriers.
Aside from a compelling feature set, which includes a user friendly interface and the industry-standard level of encryption, the new app must also support all versions across the Android ecosystem in order to encourage widespread adoption. This is because Google must acknowledge that the widest use for this technology is in countries where they are using older versions of Android. It also should be available for iOS and have a broad user interface for additional capabilities, allowing it to integrate into a full ecosystem. Those are the minimum requirements that Google must enforce in hopes of success in this competitive space. Although, only time will be the true dictator of success.
Latching onto the rise of chat bots
Chat bots, like Microsoft’s Tay or NetSfere’s Net-C and personal assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, are being implemented by all of the big-name players. Google must use the rise of chat bots to its advantage. These AI-powered bots provide a convenience factor that many consumers are intrigued by and brands are looking to adopt. These bots certainly can make an impact, if deployed correctly, and it could be something Google may leverage during I/O, serving as a compelling aspect of its messaging solution.
If history is any indication, Google will focus its messaging app first on consumer requirements, and then look to support other verticals after it has mastered the former. I do, however, believe that Google will look to make its solution available to the broadest user base quickly.
With these considerations in mind, we could see a very compelling messaging offering from Google announced this week. Whether it be messaging apps or virtual reality, Google has and will continue to influence consumers and developers through innovations and leadership as it impacts and evolves not only the mobile industry, but the technology industry as a whole.