Chat Assist on the Samsung Galaxy S24 is one of the phone's many impressive AI features. But it just so happens that Google's working on a similar tool called Google Bard in Messages, as found within the APK files of the new Google Messages app beta by 9to5Google.
According to screenshots captured from the Messages beta You can open up or return to a chat with Google Bard (or "Penpal" as it's currently codenamed in the beta) like any other contact in the main Messages window.
Bard can then help you write messages to your other (real) contacts, but also do more. Some of the suggestions found by 9to5Google include identifying an image, making book recommendations, writing a riddle and suggesting recipes based on ingredients you give it.
One important thing to note is that Messages with Bard is not end-to-end encrypted, with information stored for up to three years, albeit with no link to your account apparently.
Similar to a certain new Samsung feature
Anyone who's been paying attention to phone news recently may have spotted that Messages with Bard bears some similarities with Samsung's Chat Assist feature for the Galaxy S24.
Chat Assist is used for one of two things - translating text, or tweaking the tone or grammar of your writing to make it better suited to a particular purpose. It can be used anywhere you write with the Galaxy S24's built-in keyboard app, so you won't have to copy/paste or share any AI-generated material like you'd have to with Messages with Bard. But Bard is a fully-fledged AI chatbot, and so can do far more than Chat Assist as a result.
Samsung also processes the information (although does not store it) when you use the Style and Grammar tools to adjust the tone of your writing or check you've written something correctly. But translations are done on-device, which is more secure.
Both Samsung's and Google's tools seem to have their own unique use cases, and it seems possible to use them in tandem assuming you have a Galaxy S24 and use whichever future version of Google Messages offers Bard integration over Samsung's own messaging app. But the timing of Google's AI messaging appearing around the same time as Samsung's new AI-focused phone doesn't seem entirely a coincidence. Good news for anyone who wants to buy one of the other best Android phones not made by Samsung.
Chat Assist will arrive along with the Galaxy S24 series on January 31 (although Galaxy S24 preorders are already open). There's no sign of when Messages with Bard will be made fully available yet, although hopefully it'll be within a month or two if this beta test works out.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.