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Mixed reaction to Google social media robot

Google patents automated social media messaging service

Google has unveiled plans to roll out software that will help busy social media users keep track of their messages.

The service will learn how an individual user interacts with a site and use this data to create automated responses to certain correspondence. Google’s patent, submitted by software engineer Ashish Bhatia, describes the invention as: ‘Automated generation of suggestions for personalised reactions in a social network’.

How it works would depend on how the individual uses their social media accounts. The software would pick up on how you respond to different kinds of message, for example videos and notifications, and create potential auto-responses that a user can simply approve or reject.

It can tell the difference between informal platforms, such as Twitter, where you may be interacting with people you know, and business networks such as LinkedIn, where a more formal approach is required.

This means that companies wishing to communicate with existing customers and potential clients across various channels can do so without having to spend all day keeping track. Google’s software can also highlight messages it feels require a completely personal response.

Analysts cast doubt on software’s effectiveness

While Google’s creation may seem like a handy support system to some, others have been quick to point out its potential flaws.

Professor Shaun Lawson, a social computing specialist at the University of Lincoln, felt that social media should continue to be used primarily as a means of person-to-person communication, suggesting that there was in fact no need to reply to every single message received.

It has also been noted that Google’s program would have no understanding of context. Essentially, it would not know which interactions would be most important to a specific user, or why.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: “While Google’s idea obviously has the best intentions at heart, it’s likely that people will be able to tell the difference between an automated response and one that has a genuinely personal touch.”

Written by James Riches

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