On January 28, 2020, Google made an official announcement regarding the launch of the new conversational AI, Meena Chatbot, through it’s Blog.

Google meena chatbot

Chatbot is an emerging technology and an ‘Artificial Intelligence‘ feature that are enable to carry out tasks and respond to textual and visual inputs from users. They interact with users via text or voice commands It simulates Human Conversation.

The first Chatbot was created in 1966 named ‘Eliza’ at MIT. Since then, the evolution of Chatbot has been massive.

Here’s how a typical chatbot based on artificial intelligence works.

meena chatbot working
Credit: Medium/Larry Kim

According to the analysis report it is being analysed that the Chatbot market growth will increase from $2.6 Billion in 2019 to $9.4 Billion by 2024.

With new emerging technologies and research being carried out the Chatbot industry will cut down the operational cost by 30% and about 85% customer interaction will be carried out without human by 2021.

While, Google claims Meena is better than any other chatbot in the market.

Google researchers quoted “However, current open-domain chatbots have a critical flaw — they often don’t make sense. They sometimes say things that are inconsistent with what has been said so far, or lack common sense and basic knowledge about the world. Moreover, chatbots often give responses that are not specific to the current context. For example, “I don’t know,” is a sensible response to any question, but it’s not specific. Current chatbots do this much more often than people because it covers many possible user inputs.”

To tackle this major flaw faced by the chatbot market, Google has come up with its own Chatbot namely Meena.

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Google promises an open-conversation like humans by the chatbot, Meena which does not just carry out tasks or answers factual questions or even tells you a joke but is capable of having a human like conversation with responses by judging the behavior of the user.

Meena is capable of having an end to end conversation with ability to respond sensibly and with specificity. Not only this, there are things which makes it stand out of the crowd, let’s look into them.

What makes Meena best? Here are the features:

About 2.5 billion parameters have been set up by google in meena. Parameters like understanding the human languages and emotions as to how to respond to anger, love, sadness etc. 

Meena chatbot is googles’s attempt at detailed ‘Towards a Human-like domain chatbot’ for a free flowing conversation by a conversational AI.

More than 40 billion words have been processed in the AI Chatbot to interpret human words, speak to people, carry out task with natural language. 

It is capable of having a multiple turn dialogue up to 28 turns, as tested by the Google researchers. Also, It has the ability of self judgment and self-assessment just like a human for a responsive conversation.

Meena is stated to be a Neural Network that means it is capable of classifying things, making predictions, understanding emotions, critical thinking and logical reasoning.

On asking a question or making a small talk Meena will not only respond to the context but will also offer an opinion of its own.


The Sensibility and Specificity Average.

The SSA test is a metric test for an open-domain chatbot that tests the basic attribution for human-like conversation. The SSA tests focus on two basic principle:

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1. Making sense: The conversation or the response of the conversation should make sense. 
2. Being Specific:  The response or the answers should be very specific or close to the topic of having a conversation on.
SSA is basically a human evaluation metric for the chatbot to check the range of its human likeness.

According to Google, the training objective is to reduce perplexity and uncertainty in predicting conversational outcomes.

After carrying out the SSA Test, it was evaluated that Meena was closest to the human SSA which is 79% to 86% that of humans.
The other Chatbot like Mitsuku, Cleverbot, DialoGPT, Xiaoice. were as low as 50% and below.

google meena chatbot
Meena SSA compared to that of humans and other chatbots present in the market. (image credit: Google)

Meena, the robust chatbot by Google is so far the best AI Chatbot to enter the market. Its features make it unique to the other chatbots in the market.

Siri by Apple, Amazon Alexa or Cortana by Microsoft are just AI voice Assistant that are capable of carrying data-based tasks and answer factual questions apart from that. They cannot indulge in a human-like conversation or even give any response for the same.

Are Chatbots the Next Best Step in Customer Service?

Application of chatbot has currently widespread in various industries and it is reported with emerging technology and effectiveness of the AI chatbot by 2021 every industry will depend upon it.

From Real Estate to Education, Healthcare and Finance sector of the industry is using the AI-powered chatbots.  

Various Business ventures have already received advantages of the AI Chatbots and have improved their business operation to an extent. 

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It has not just reduced the cost of customer service by 30% but it is believed that by 2021 85% of Customer services will not require human interaction.

It is also reported that customers that interact with brands via social media networking tend to spend 20-40% more than the regular customers hereby increasing the income by 40%

An increase in lead generation and user retention rate has also been observed, as chatbots remember a client’s preferences. Since customers receive more personalized product recommendations, they become loyal to the brand.

chatbot for bussiness
Credits: Chatbot magazine

Meanwhile, we still await Meena’s official launch date, a few researchers claim that Meena still has a few flaws that need to be addressed after the software is completely tested and amendments are made the SSA score is more likely to reach a 100%.

Once google is completely reassured that the chatbot is devoid of any limitation or error they will release Meena as a demo to the general public. 

You can read the official announcement of Meena Chatbot by Google here.

An engineer and a tech enthusiast, driven by curiosity.

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