Messaging & Bot War

By Hoan Do | Cyber-war of Messaging Apps and Bots

Hangouts Meet updated with text chat functionality in video calls

Earlier this year, Google announced an enterprise-focused revamp of Hangouts. Split into two apps, Chat is focussed on text communication, while Meet is designed for video conferencing. The former service is not yet ready, but the latter is adding a highly requested messaging feature for text …

Apps

Why Stripe Is Partnering With Alipay and WeChat

Stripe Inc. unveiled a partnership deal with two of China’s biggest digital payment services, giving the San Francisco-based startup access to …

Banking

China blocks WhatsApp features in crackdown on messaging app

WhatsApp users in China have reported problems with the messaging app sparking fears the service could have been blocked by authorities following Liu Xiaobo's death in prison.<p>People trying to access WhatsApp from within China said they were having difficulties with the app and were unable to send …

China

Is Amazon working on a new messaging app called Anytime?

Messaging apps today are one of the most popular ways consumers communicate today, not just with each other but, increasingly, with businesses and services. Now there are signs that we could see another big player enter the messaging fray, alongside more established services from Facebook, …

Amazon

Facebook Messenger's David Marcus shrugged off accusations of copying Snapchat

Not many big apps have transformed as drastically as Messenger in recent years.<p>Originally just a component of Facebook, the messaging platform was spun out into an optional alternative standalone app in 2011, before users were forced to install it in 2016 to chat with their friends on the social …

Facebook

Facebook is testing Messenger ads around the world

Facebook's plan to monetize Messenger is going global.<p>The company said on Tuesday Messenger ads would be available around the world through an …

Facebook

Giving apps a new home in Slack

Discoverability step 1, and more to come<p>You probably invested weeks or months to build your fantastic Slack app. You submitted it for review by our …

WhatsApp's latest update will make text effects easier

WhatsApp's new global formatting feature will allow users to select the text to change and then add the effect - such as bold, italic or with a line …

Baidu acquires natural language startup Kitt.ai, maker of chatbot engine ChatFlow

China’s search giant Baidu has made another acquisition to continue its push into artificial intelligence, and specifically to help it carve out a place for itself as a platform for developers who want to create chatbots and other services based on natural language technology.<p>Baidu has acquired …

Artificial Intelligence

Indian messaging app Hike may launch live-streaming following recent acquisition

Hike, the billion-dollar messaging app chasing WhatsApp in India, may be preparing to enter the live-streaming space following a recent acquisition.<p>The company, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, has acquired India-based live-streaming app Pulse and at least two of its founding …

WhatsApp

Facebook brings new masks, filters and reactions to Messenger video chat

Facebook is bringing a ton of new filters, masks and video reactions to video chats in Messenger, aiming to deliver a more fun experience to younger users on the app and shore up the service against competing video chat apps.<p>The update is centered all around fun, visual filters.<p>Video reactions will …

Facebook

Facebook improves its AI Messenger assistant ‘M’ with new wits

Facebook M, the company’s AI-powered assistant that lives inside Messenger, was launched widely back in April, giving suggestions to users based on the context of their conversations. Today, M is getting a bit smarter and more socially capable.<p>Perhaps most notable is that the AI assistant will now …

Facebook

WhatsApp will soon let you share any type of file

Facebook-owned WhatsApp isn't really known for quickly adding new features, unlike Facebook-owned Instagram or even Facebook Messenger. But WhatsApp …

Spotify now lets you build playlists with friends inside Messenger

Earlier this year, Spotify introduced a new Messenger bot that let users share song clips with friends. Today, the company is expanding on that bot’s functionality to now allow a group of friends to build a playlist together via Messenger – even if not everyone in the group is on Spotify.<p>The …

Instagram Stories hits 250M daily users, adds Live video replays

Instagram Stories is widening its lead over Snapchat and rolling out new features to keep everyone shooting video. Instagram Stories now has 250 million daily active users, up from 200 million in April, 150 million in January and 100 million in October after launching the Snapchat Stories clone in …

Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

India-focused mobile messaging service Hike landed funding from Tencent last year, and today it took a major step to emulating the Chinese firm’s WeChat app with the introduction of mobile payments.<p>The launch of Hike Wallet not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means …

Is Amazon crazy for wanting to buy Slack for $9 billion?

One of Bloomberg’s last pieces filed late Wednesday night noted that Amazon wanted to buy group chat service Slack, and valued the business at a whopping $9 billion.<p>I’m trying to make sense of that figure, because that’s a lotta zeroes, and a whole lot more than the $3.8 billion valuation Slack saw …

Amazon

Facebook’s AI crosses language barrier to assist in Spanish

Any technology that only works in English neglects 75% of the world. That problem is especially severe for Facebook with its global userbase. Yet most languages are being left out by the advances in artificial intelligence centered around natural language processing led by researchers in the U.S. …

Apple’s new App Store policies target China’s online tipping economy

Apple has a tip for China—all online tips must go through Apple before they go anywhere else.<p>This past week the hardware giant unveiled two new policies that appear directed largely at WeChat, China’s most popular chat app, where peer-to-peer payments, or “tips,” are transferred every day. The …

Apple launches Business Chat for iMessage in developer preview

Apple launched Business Chat for iMessage today in developer preview, company executives said onstage today at WWDC, the company’s annual developer conference. Message icons will appear alongside the names of businesses in Siri, Spotlight searches, and Maps for quick chat with online or offline …

iOS

Facebook Preps New Teen App, With a Nod Toward Parents

Facebook is trying to find more ways to get younger people to use its apps, potentially by creating a teen-oriented messaging service that gives …

Microsoft's new Skype redesign is a radical change that looks like Snapchat

Skype gets another overhaul for 2017<p>Microsoft acquired Skype nearly six years ago, and ever since then it feels like the messaging service has been experiencing an existential crisis. Skype has been slowly transitioning from a peer-to-peer service to the cloud, and it’s been a bumpy ride with many …

Microsoft

Facebook Messenger upgrades encrypted chat feature

Chatting on Facebook is quietly getting more secure.<p>The social media company’s Messenger, used by more than 900 million people around the world, just …

WeChat just launched a search engine. Baidu should worry.

Photo credit: Tech in Asia.Chinese search giant Baidu has had it good. For years, the tech firm has enjoyed a near monopoly of the country’s …

SEO

Google launches Google Assistant on the iPhone

Watch out Siri, there’s a new kid in town. Google just announced at its I/O developer conference that its personal assistant is coming to iOS. You won’t be able to replace Siri with Google Assistant, but you’ll be able to use the feature in Google’s dedicated app.<p>“Today, I’m excited to announce …

Symphony, a messaging app backed by Wall St, gets $63M at a $1B+ valuation

Symphony, a secure messaging app that counts 15 of the world’s biggest banks among its investors and 200,000 paying customers, has raised a new tranche of funding to fuel its expansion into new markets. Symphony has closed in on $63 million; and according to sources close to the company, the …

Facebook’s new research tool is designed to create a truly conversational AI

The company’s new software framework ParlAI will teach bots better conversation skills<p>Most of us talk to our computers on a semi-regular basis, but that doesn’t mean the conversation is any good. We ask Siri what the weather is like, or tell Alexa to put some music on, but we don’t expect sparkling …

Chatbots

WhatsApp’s ‘Status’ Snapchat clone hits 175M daily users in 10 weeks

WhatsApp’s version of Snapchat Stories is already pulling in around 15 percent of the messaging app’s 1.2 billion users. Mark Zuckerberg today announced on Facebook’s Q1 earnings call that WhatsApp Status now has 175 million daily users after only launching in mid-February. That’s made more …

Facebook’s Messenger games are now available to everyone

With turn-based play<p>Facebook announced today that its new Messenger game-playing features are now available to the entire 1.2 billion people who use the app every month. Instant Games, as the platform is called, first launched in closed beta last November with arcade titles like <i>Pac-Man</i> and <i>Galaga.</i> …

Gaming