The rise in chat bots – intelligent software that allows you to manage your life – could mean the end of app organisers.
Apple’s Siri turned 5 this month, and that’s old in tech terms. In that time, the grandmother of intelligent personal assistants has been joined by a number of competitors. The new Google Assistant, for example, which comes with the Pixel phone, is proving to be far more capable.
These digital assistants can book restaurants, order takeaway food, schedule meetings and organise appointments. What makes them really handy, however, is the fact that you can ask them to do all this through an intelligent instant message or verbal interface.
An interview with an AI
If you take Bloomberg’s interview with Google Assistant into account, app builders should be concerned. The chat bot is capable of much more than just organising your calendar.
Using messenger emoticons, Google Assistant informed Bloomberg that it could do everything Siri can do:
- Book flights, hotels and other travel necessities
- Book restaurants, bars and theatre tickets
- Answer questions and translate phrases
- Set timers, reminders and alarms
- Send messages and emails
- Monitor stocks and make notes
- Play music and videos, and launch games
- Find local businesses
However, it can also:
- Control Google Chromecast
- Set up daily updates about whatever you want
- Save questions and commands when offline
On top of that, by 2017, the digital assistant will be supporting a number of third party services, such as Uber and IMDb.
Google Assistant and other intelligent personal assistants could not only replace planning and booking apps, but also music, video, messaging, search and many others. After all, most apps are purely interfaces that allow you to access a service.
Apps could be running cold
The improvements to digital assistant software are not the only factor in this shift of status: the sale of mobile apps has started to plateau.
Last year, customers spent £14 billion in the iOS app store alone – no surprise, considering that there are over 2 million apps available.,
However, app markets are maturing, as consumers become comfortable with their level of usage, according to a report from Gartner.
“Although usage remains high,” it observes, “Users may not want or need more apps in the future.”
As intelligent personal assistants get smarter and more capable, traditional apps could become a thing of the past. It will take a while, but rather than interact with your gadgets via an app icon, you may simply be speaking to them. Forget ‘one click’, the world of the future will be accessed with one word.
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