Google’s voice-recognition software could soon become much more sophisticated, as the tech giant looks to boost its artificial intelligence capabilities.

Currently, Google users are able to get replies to simple questions they ask aloud, much like Apple’s famous Siri assistant. By prefacing their query with ‘OK Google’, users can ascertain the song playing, share prices or directions home. Anything that moves beyond the rather small pot of sample questions and answers, though, isn’t quite so successful.

To combat this, Google has revealed it’s manufacturing a new messaging app that will employ a greater level of artificial intelligence, to improve the chat bot and make it more human-like. If successful, the app will allow better communication between friends and provide accurate and correct answers to questions, using Google’s own search functionality.

A potential challenger to WhatsApp

Google’s AI push was hampered somewhat, after the company was rejected in its attempts to buy 200 Labs, a startup that specialises in developing smart chat bots. This lead some analysts to predict that Google’s new app may not be as intelligent as first hoped when it’s initially released, but could grow to become a viable challenger to the likes of WhatsApp (which is owned by rival Facebook).

Once released, it’s likely to work in a similar way to Siri, providing answers to questions it understands or searching for answers when it doesn’t. The differentiators will be the range of accents it understands and the volume of questions for which it’s able to find exact answers.

On this subject, Google is expected to use third party developers to vastly broaden the volume of questions that elicit valid responses. For example, by partnering with weather forecasters, Google could answer the question ‘will it rain tomorrow’, by providing third-party data without the need for additional user action. That said, the search giant has declined to comment on whether or not this is in the offering.