Alphabet-owned Google was due to release an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot app for Gen Z users which featured digital characters and could give relationship advice, according to CNBC.

The app, which was being worked on for mobile, was reportedly going to feature “bubble characters” holding realistic human conversations with users. 

The mystery app, which now might never see the light of day, would reportedly have allowed for conversations that are “interesting for GenZ”.

Like Bard, Google’s conversational AI chatbot to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the conversations would be built using large language models (LLMs).

CNBC reported seeing an example of the chatbot in action which showed a cartoon-like character holding a conversation and offering relationship advice in a friendly voice. 

Google reportedly steered away from the Gen Z AI chatbot’s development and “deprioritised” the app due to a restructuring of the company. 

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By GlobalData

Developers who were working on the “bubble characters” were asked to switch their attention to Bard ahead of its launch, CNBC reported. 

News of the mystery app comes as several AI researchers at Google have departed to work on their own AI chatbots. 

The generative AI race intensifies between companies, with Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, and Google all rushing to become AI tech leaders. 

Last year Google rushed to release its Bard AI tool in response to the mass popularity of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Bard runs on a ‘lightweight and efficient version of LaMDA’ a LLM developed by Google which focuses on conversational dialogue.

The search engine giant notoriously received criticism for the chatbot’s launch after including a demo that featured Bard relaying an incorrect fact.

Alphabet reported revenues of $282.8bn for the fiscal year ending in December 2022, an increase of 9.8% from the previous year, according to research firm GlobalData.