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Google snaps up Siri developer and messaging app

Emu features a full fledged assistant

Google has acquired a Californian startup which created a highly praised rich messaging application featuring a full fledged personal assistant along the lines of Apple’s Siri. Emu, which was started by veterans of Apple and Google, will be short lived however. The app only launched a few months ago and Google has confirmed it will be shut down later this month.

Undoubtedly, the acquisition is about the talent pool behind Emu. The jewel in the crown being Gummi Hafsteinsson, formerly VP Product for Siri at Apple and also an ex-Googler, who founded the company in 2012 along with Dave Feldman, previously with AOL/TechCrunch and Yahoo.

The company received seed funding of $1.5m from Kleiner Perkins, TriplePoint Capital, Menlo Ventures, DFJ, and additional angel investors to develop the app for the iPhone, which included such features as a self updating location-sharing map that can be sent to contacts; information about restaurants mentioned in messages; driving detection and automatic message reply; built in reminders based on message context; local cinema information based on message context; and push to talk.

Perhaps all these features will appear in Google products in the future. A post on the company’s website read: “To focus on our next chapter, we have to close the last one. As of August 25, 2014, we’ll be shutting down the Emu app. It will no longer be available in the App Store, and existing users won’t be able to send, receive, or download messages. We know it’s an inconvenience, and we regret that.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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