Contributed by: ElyseRomano Thursday, June 21 2018 @ 10:20 am
Following a successful launch on Facebook Messenger last year, Match is bringing its dating chatbot Lara to Google Assistant.
The AI matchmaker uses contextual understanding and speech recognition to provide advice and guidance for dating in the digital age. Lara first launched in France in 2016, then rolled out to users in the UK in 2017.
Match's vice-president of Northern Europe, Abbie Oguntade, spoke to The Drum[*1] earlier this year about the bot’s success and future trajectory. Lara has driven a 30% increase in visitors to Match’s landing page in Europe, she said, and subscriptions have “heavily improved” as a result. A team of around 15 engineers and tech experts are working out of Match’s innovation hub to improve the assistant’s AI features.
“She’s so much more than that now, we’re building out Lara’s AI to ensure she understands and can respond to voice and conversation. What we’re also doing is optimising her vocabulary to make it more colloquial, and we're improving her understanding and recommendations to bring that more ‘human’ element to her role,” said Oguntade.
In her latest incarnation, Lara can speak to Match users through Android smartphones and smartwatches, Google Home smart speakers, and laptops equipped with Google Assistant. Conversations are initiated by saying “Ok Google, talk to Lara from Match”, and through artificial intelligence and keyword recognition technology, Lara can understand users’ intentions and hold a full conversation to help them through the dating journey.
Lara offers three services to singles:
Each day, Lara selects a unique Daily Match based on the user’s Match search preferences (e.g. age, location, common interests). The profile details of the Daily Match are sent via text message, allowing the recipient to easily contact their potential date.
Lara can suggest perfect date locations using Google Maps’ Geocoding API. After asking what kind of date setting a user is looking for, Lara will send a suggested location via SMS with a link to a map. Lara learns from the user’s experiences to suggest more relevant locations in the future, based on their feedback.
Lara comes equipped with a range of dating tips compiled from Match’s 23 years of experience, ranging from top date turn-offs to suggestions for calming first-date nerves. Lara will proactively encourage the conversation to continue by offering further dating tips and asking users if they need any more advice. The more a user chats with Lara, the more detailed and personalized her responses become.
Xavier de Baillenx, Innovation Leader at Match says: “This is a very exciting time for Match and puts us at the forefront of innovation in the dating industry. We are always looking at the role technology can play in improving our member’s experience to offer them new ways of meeting their potential dates that will easily fit in with their busy everyday life. Building upon the success of Lara on Facebook, we wanted to enhance and explore the possibilities of AI, which has provided us with a great outcome so far. We look forward to developing Lara further as technology evolves.”