When we started Haptik back in 2013, we never knew that one day we’d be welcoming companies like Facebook and Google to an industry we gave birth to. In August last year, Facebook announced their Virtual Assistant M and we thought “Wow! It’s good to no longer be alone 😉”. Besides validating our idea at Haptik, it was also a personal ego boost to see Facebook bet big on conversational commerce. Fast forward to today, and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai started the keynote of Google I/O 2016 with emphasis on personalization and contextual help from an assistant. He announced, “Introducing the Google Assistant”. It was quite spectacular to see 100+ Android fans in the Haptik office (we were live screening I/O extended) smirk around the room and nobody was making the effort of keeping it subtle. When Pichai said, “Two way conversations, to get things done”, things started sounding very very familiar. It dawned on everyone that an Indian startup had carved out an industry that the world’s largest companies found value in. Our effort is worthwhile, because with our laser focus on Machine Learning and AI over the last 3 years, Haptik is now perfectly poised to rise to the occasion of welcoming Google’s Assistant Bot!
Déjà vu, from French, literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past. And that’s how we at Haptik feel when we see the official Google Assistant announcement, “The Assistant is conversational—an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater.”
In all seriousness, we are super excited to see Google entering this space. As the world is turning to more conversational user interfaces, it comes as no surprise that Google wants to leverage their search capabilities over chat. Without a doubt, they have the best data sources, consumer reach, and partner relationships to truly make mobile chat the gateway to services on your smartphone. But much like any new product, they will find their own unique challenges in consumer adoption. Pichai also mentioned how this will be a “long process”. We couldn’t agree more. We’ve worked long and hard to get here, with still some way to go.
Either way, it is still very early and Google’s move not only further validates everything Haptik stands for, but also helps us all realize the massive scale of opportunity ahead. People don’t want to search through multiple links and tabs, they don’t want to download many apps, they don’t want to call. They want to send a message asking for something to get done, and want it to get done within minutes.
The future is here.