I know, I know: these days it seems like nearly everyone and their mother is trying to cash in on the mobile messaging app craze. And at first glance, a new Android messaging app called Emu seems like just another claimant to the throne.
It's not. It's much, much better. Rather than try to build a new online messaging platform from scratch and then agonize over ways to make it stand out amid a sea of competitors, Emu co-founders Gummi Hafsteinsson and Dave Feldman* decided to take a stab at making our run-of-the-mill SMS conversations smarter.
To hear them tell it, the process of actually getting things done via SMS is an awfully tedious one. Let's say you're trying to set wrangle up a friend up to go to the movies with you — it sounds straightforward enough, but there are plenty of sub-steps to tackle if you break it all down. What movie are you going to see? Better fire up that Fandango app. Are both of you free next Thursday? A quick peek at your calendar app should clear that up.
You get where I'm going. Meanwhile, at first glance, Emu doesn't seem like much more than a handsome replacement for the stock Android SMS app. And hey, if that's all Emu wound up being, it'd still probably find a following. But Emu's special sauce comes in the form of information pop ups that appear in your messaging stream when it detects certain snippets of conversation.
You see, the application quietly monitors your conversation and chews on that corpus in search of time, location, and action triggers. If you text a friend to ask if they want to see Gravity, a list of nearby theaters and showtimes will appear. Ditto for restaurants, except it's OpenTable listings that appear in your feed. And once the conversation starts turning to times, your calendar entries for the span of a few hours pops up to make sure you're not double booking yourself. Emu is also smart enough to keep track of information that appeared earlier in your exchange — if you first asked your friend if they were free next Friday, listings for that day would be the ones to pop up.
Read more: TechCrunch