Picture the scene: you're planning a night out to counteract those Blue Monday blues. Messages on the group chat are flowing like happy hour cocktails – everyone's free! Only, what was the name of that place you wanted to check out? Was it Bemelman's, written like that? Or was it Beekman (and was there an 's' on the end so you don't look silly)? You pause. You quickly type, 'Bear with me guys, brb' and head off to your search history.
Well, that bit of faff when planning could soon be a thing of the past.
It's all thanks to a newly published Google patent (thank you for spotting, business aid Website Rating and David from @xleaks7) which could bring significant upgrades to Google's AI-powered text message generator.
Google's patent (originally filed September 21, 2023 and published January 11, 2024) includes images that go to great lengths to describe how it could save you precious time when planning, too.
Basically, in the scenario I created above, Google's AI wizardry for Messages could pull through the name, website and booking details for the bar you found while browsing on Yelp last week, along with Google Maps directions, thus saving you the time and effort of jumping between applications when you're oh-so busy.
Hey guys! Good news!Advanced input suggestions coming to Google Messages (Based on patent)More info - https://t.co/yD3Kf1TNLn (Thanks to my new partner)#GoogleMessages #Google #MagicCompose pic.twitter.com/1hAyZOVPHaJanuary 15, 2024
Analysis: anything that simplifies planning via text is a huge win for Google
The idea is that these recommendations will come from prompts made by your contacts. So, if a friend suggests 'Want to grab dinner?' you'd get an immediate restaurant recommendation based on a review you read – et voilà, you've made dinner plans without leaving your messaging app. And if your plans are set in stone, you'd get a suggestion to add this to Google Calendar, too; you're so organized!
But that's not all. The filing also includes AI-enhanced access to your media. Say I messaged a colleague asking for snaps from their recent trip to Las Vegas for CES 2024; (because I didn't go, guys…) no drama! Rather than having to scroll back through their camera reel, they'd get an input suggestion for all media tagged with those locations to quickly ping me.
Obviously, this technology aims to simplify the process of texting en route (when your fingers are frozen or when running to catch your train, say) and the patent certainly aligns with Google's desire to create an ecosystem of devices that seamlessly integrate with their users’ needs.
Do we want a bot writing our messages, knowing our plans and casually harvesting information on our whereabouts even more than the likes of ChatGPT – the chatbot which recently got its own equivalent of the App Store? That remains a hot topic of discussion, but if it simplifies messaging quickly, I predict some users will embrace it willingly.
For me, the idea of not needing to switch apps to find the information or media I seek seems the biggest win – for example, I rarely remember it's actually called 'Bar Room at the Beekman' and it would be nice not to have to.
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.