Yahoo’s conversational interfaces seek to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Facebook M

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer provided a brief update on her company’s pilot effort with bots during a conference call following today’s quarterly earnings announcement. She suggested that the company’s initial efforts with conversational interfaces will lead it to compete with other voice activated assistants.  “Examples of others entering what we call the mobile assistance space include Alexa from Amazon or M from Facebook,” Mayer said.
“This quarter we launched early but important experiments in the areas of conversational interfaces, personal assistance, and real-time answers,” Mayer said.
Above: Examples of Yahoo’s mobile assistance bots from Yahoo Q2 2016 earnings conference call July 18, 2016.Image Credit: Yahoo
In June, Yahoo had launched bots for news, weather and virtual pets. At the time,Jon Paris, senior product director of Yahoo had said, “We think it’s just the beginning with bots. [Next] we’ll be looking at the new types of experiences that get built differently than what you’ll see in an app. We’re definitely seeing new opportunity in the broader messaging space.”
And earlier this month, the company made the same news, weather, and virtual pets bots available for Facebook Messenger and added a fourth: Yahoo Finance.
“We anticipate that most of the innovation in search will occur in the area of mobile assistance,” Mayer said during today’s call.  “We believe that [these experiments] can be important differentiators for us in the mobile assistance space.”
The thought of Yahoo launching a competitor to Siri and Alexa is provocative, even admirable — but likely fanciful. Developing a Yahoo mobile assistant is an effort that dates to at least last spring when the company embarked on Project Index. Instead, the company continues its forced march to sell itself. Bids from potential acquirers including Verizon and AT&T were due today.
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Yahoo’s conversational interfaces seek to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Facebook M
Yahoo’s conversational interfaces seek to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Facebook M



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