Google reportedly ditched its AI chatbot app targeted at Gen Z users

The Google logo on the Google Pixel 7's display
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Bubble Characters was reportedly an AI-based chatbot for Gen Z users.
  • The alleged app featured cartoon-like characters engaging with younger audiences.
  • Google was reportedly working on it since 2021.

Google already has a significant chatbot called Bard, which launched to take on Open AI's ChatGPT. The search giant had other plans before prioritizing Bard, an AI-based chatbot aimed at millennials.

The app dubbed "Bubble Characters" previously in the works was made for mobiles, reports CNBC, citing materials and internal documentation they have obtained. It was primarily designed for Gen Z users, featuring interactive digital characters. It was later "deprioritized" due to Google's internal reorganization, which eventually abandoned the AI-based chatbot app.

CNBC notes that the app allegedly featured a talking digital character that would interact in conversations with Gen Z users. The app's description, viewed by CNBC, further hinted that the app featured "human-like" conversations, which could "take action" aimed at Gen Z users. These interactive conversations are believed to be aided by Google's large language models (LLMs).

The app's description further read, "What started out as something from a science fiction novel, became the next generation of human-level conversation."

The app also showcased a cartoon-like character with a friendly voice that seemingly engaged in conversation as well as asked follow-up questions, making the experience human-like. It apparently also gave relationship advice.

All this exciting stuff, however, wouldn't see the light of day because of the deprioritization of the app in favor of Bard. The app has been in development among other language-based models since Q4 of 2021. The internal reorganization in the company led to the exit of key executives, and the remaining ones were told to focus on Bard to launch against Open AI's ChatGPT, which was quickly incorporated by Microsoft back then in its Bing Search.

The generative AI race has been heating up as of late as companies scramble to incorporate their own chatbots into their products.

Instagram was recently spotted testing a new AI chatbot that aims to create a "fun and engaging experience" for users. Similarly, Snap introduced "My AI'' for Snapchat+ users in March. It allowed users to brainstorm birthday gifts and ideas for weekend plans, suggest dinner recipes, and more. Aside from these apps, WhatsApp and Messenger, owned by Meta, may soon have their own AI-powered chatbots.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.