Google Acquires Mobile Messaging App Emu

Google has acquired mobile messaging application Emu, just months after it exited beta, according to TechCrunch. The app is a full-fledged mobile assistant similar to Siri and Google Now, but with a little twist on how it provides assistance.

How Emu Works

Emu saves users the hassle of having to copy and paste text to perform basic tasks such as adding calendar details. Unlike other assistants and mobile messaging apps, Emu automatically brings up the necessary features.

For example, if the user messages a friend about a dinner date, Emu will provide contextual information, bring up the calendar, the restaurant location and its Yelp ratings, and if applicable, show OpenTable reservations. From here, users can simply create the event on the device’s calendar, call the restaurant, or check out the directions from Maps.

If users are messaging about movies, Emu displays a list of nearby shows. Users simply need to tap to get more details about show times and where to purchase the tickets.

Emu is also able to send automatic replies when users are not available to respond, doing so anywhere in the message stream. It also includes a “snooze” function that turns a message into a reminder that can be activated upon arrival. As it learns about a user’s home and work habits, the app offer more relevant time-based notifications.

The Team Behind Emu

Emu was co-founded by Gummi Hafsteinsson, a former Google and Apple employee who worked on Google Maps for mobile and voice search for Siri before it was acquired by Apple. Subsequently, he helped bring Siri to the iPhone.

In an earlier interview with TechCrunch, Hafsteinsson said he got the inspiration to build Emu from his experience working on Siri. “I felt that you kind of had to engage Siri all the time, and I wanted to create an assistant that was more in the background and proactive,” he said. Hafsteinsson described Emu as taking a similar concept to Google Now, but that it would look at a lot more data and integrate it more naturally.

What do you think of Emu’s capabilities? Useful or overkill?

Image courtesy of Flickr