How to Compete With Google & Amazon In Chatbot Technology

April 3rd, 2018

By Sam Brotherton. Sam is an engineer represented by 10x Management. 10x exclusively represents top tech freelancers and matches them with forward-thinking companies that need rapid access to the best and brightest.

If you’re a company looking to enter the chatbot fray, don’t get too discouraged by the seeming dominance of tech giants like Google, Apple and Amazon. It might seem like there’s an Alexa in every home you visit, but you can still compete with Google and Amazon by finding a niche market that you can specialize in that has potential.

For instance, if you built a chatbot that focused strictly on the healthcare industry, you could compete with Google and Amazon, because they are much more focused on building general chatbots. Chatbots could provide far more efficient ways to communicate between doctors, nurses, and patients, and could go a long way to reassuring many patients about symptoms and recovery.

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If a medical chatbot existed in every doctor’s office, hospital room, or even a patient’s living room, many visits that used to require a long doctor’s visit might be solved more quickly with chatbot technology. For example, a patient could ask a medical chatbot, “Hey, is this symptom normal?” and a chatbot could provide the answer. Or a doctor could ask, “Hey, does this patient’s blood type work with this medicine?” and again, a specialized chatbot could provide answers.

Google, Amazon, and Apple are currently not in a race to build a great medical chatbot. They’re in a race to build a great general chatbot. Meaning a company could develop chatbot technology specifically tailored to healthcare and tech giants like Google would be the ones trying to play catch-up.

Take what I said for the healthcare industry and apply it to any industry you want, and you can compete with Google and Amazon. The transportation industry could use chatbot technology to help with scheduling, and retail companies could use chatbot technology to help with inventory. If you can tailor your technology to a specific industry, you can legitimately compete in chatbot technology with any tech giant.

I worked as a developer at Google, and I know that Google is focused on developing chatbots that can have everyday conversations with users and handle a multitude of requests. But they’re leaving more specific work open to competition. When you’re a company as big as Google or Amazon, you leave niche markets open to competitors.

Working on semantic extraction at Google showed me the importance of developing machines that are capable of both understanding human language – with its expressions and nuances – and communicating back in a human way. Chatbots will only continue to grow in use and in stature over the coming years. The work that tech giants like Google and Amazon are doing is important to the overall development of chatbot technology. But equally important is the work that other companies do in niche markets to foster healthy competition and advance technology.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading The Ethics of Self-Driving Cars: Can We Be Rational With New Technology?