TechCrunch is reporting that Google has acquired "Emu," an innovative texting app that pairs a virtual assistant with your instant messages. Emu was an IM service, but it constantly mined your conversations and offered quick access to relevant tasks. For instance, a message mentioning a restaurant would come with the Yelp score attached. An incoming message asking "dinner Friday?" would show your agenda for Friday night along with a button to add the event to your calendar.
The service basically applied Google Now-style smarts to instant messaging, and it seemed like something right up Google's alley. The company must have thought so, too, resulting in today's acquisition. And Google should be able to solve the biggest downside to Emu, which is having to switch IM services. Google will likely start integrating these features into Google Hangouts, the default IM service on Android devices and Gmail.
Besides restaurant reviews and agendas, the app supported creating reminders from messages, both time and location-based. It would show movie times and even allow you to set restaurant reservations right from a message.