Google reportedly working on an artificially intelligent messaging app

This Oct. 20, 2015, photo, shows a sign outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
This Oct. 20, 2015, photo, shows a sign outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Google may be working on a new messaging app that would use artificial intelligence to give users answers to search queries, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The report, which sites “people familiar with the matter,” alleged the service would use so-called chatbots – software programs that answer questions inside of a messaging app. Users would be able to chat with friends or with a chatbot, according to the report.

Google declined to comment on the report.

It’s unclear when the reported app would launch; however, the report alleged Google has been working on the service “for at least a year.”

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Messaging services are among the most popular mobile apps, but Google’s offerings lag behind competitors in terms of monthly users.

READ MORE: New Facebook software is smart enough to play games, describe your photos

Google isn’t the only tech company trying to use artificial intelligence to bolster its products.

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In November, Facebook said its artificial intelligence team had developed software that can analyze a photo and answer questions about what it shows, or study a picture of toy blocks and predict whether they will fall over.

The social networking giant has also begun limited testing of an online personal assistant, called “M,” that uses a combination of human workers and software to answer questions and carry out tasks like ordering food or flowers for a friend. Facebook is using artificial intelligence software to assist and study those interactions, so it can learn the best responses and eventually perform tasks that now require human assistance.

In fact, Apple, Microsoft and IBM are all studying artificial intelligence, as are several smaller tech firms that are vying to develop more useful digital services for consumers and businesses.

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