Facebook and Google are both behemoths of the internet that are unchallenged in their areas of expertise. No other social network has the reach and presence of Facebook and Google is search for most people around the world.
The two internet giants though find themselves coming up against each other often. Google was quick to realize that social media would become a challenge to web search as a platform for advertisers. It tried hard with Google Plus to try and make a play for the social media space but failed miserably.
Both of the companies are essentially selling advertising through the use of data collected by their services. Google knows your search history, your browsing patterns in Chrome, it goes through each and every word that you write on Gmail and knows where you are at any given point thanks to Android. Facebook knows your ‘likes’ and your social interactions and knows that people you know influence you more than any other advertising campaign could ever do so.
The two companies and others are now in a race to develop AI and integrate it better with the services around you. According to IDC, the market for applications powered by machine learning will be worth a staggering $40 Billion dollars. They also estimate that 50% of all developers will be including elements of AI into their applications by 2018.
The evidence of this has already started to pan out. Google recently introduced a chat application that can respond intelligently when you ask it a direct question. Facebook has started to roll out changes to make its messenger application into a platform where ‘bots’ of different companies can be added.
There is a long way to go but the idea is that these bots will be the apps of the future. All of this interaction with AI though is based off on natural language interface. It is something that Apple was the first to envision on a large scale with Siri but has squandered that lead spectacularly. Google may have access to a much larger pool of data thanks to search but Facebook is the one company that is best poised to learn how people actually talk and communicate.
Facebook also has the most popular messaging app in the world, WhatsApp, that they have not really leveraged as of now. Rest assured that Facebook will not hesitate to integrate its messaging bots into WhatsApp whenever the technology reaches that maturity. It was not too long ago that Google made headlines all over the world for developing an AI system that beat the world’s best player at Go. A game that is intrinsically difficult for AI to master. Facebook too was close to achieving the same thing and this shows that its AI team is almost at par with where Google is.
The most recent introduction of AI by Facebook has been ‘Deep Text’, an AI program that it will use to better understand the behavior of its users. Deep Text has the ability to understand several thousand posts at the same time in up to 20 languages.
This better understanding of its users will no doubt make it even more valuable to advertisers and help grow the company’s bottom line. Google may be omnipresent in mobile and is taking strides towards making self-driving cars commonplace, however, it still earns an overwhelming amount of its revenue from search.
Facebook has the potential to hit it where it matters most and this is why Google and Facebook will lock horns for the foreseeable future.