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SmarterChild was a chatterbot available on AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger (previously MSN Messenger) networks.[citation needed]


SmarterChild was an intelligent agent or bot developed by ActiveBuddy, Inc., with offices in New York and Sunnyvale.[citation needed] It was widely distributed across global instant messaging and SMS networks.[citation needed] SmarterChild became very popular with over 30 million Instant Messenger "friends" on AIM (AOL) and MSN over the course of its lifetime.[citation needed]

Founded in 2000, ActiveBuddy was the brainchild of Robert Hoffer, Timothy Kay and Peter Levitan. The idea for instant messaging bots came from the team's vision to add natural language comprehension functionality to the increasingly popular instant messaging and SMS platforms.[citation needed] The original implementation took shape as a word-based adventure game but quickly grew to include a wide range of database applications including instant access to news, weather, stock information, movie times, yellow pages listings, and detailed sports data, as well as a variety of tools (personal assistant, calculators, translator, etc.).[citation needed] These various applications were bundled into a single entity and launched as SmarterChild in 2001.[citation needed] SmarterChild acted as a showcase for the quick data access and possibilities for fun personalized conversation that the company planned to turn into customized, niche specific products.[citation needed]

The rapid success of SmarterChild led to targeted marketing-oriented bots for Radiohead, Austin Powers, Intel, Keebler, The Sporting News and others.[citation needed] ActiveBuddy strengthened its hold on the intelligent agent market by receiving a U.S. patent in 2002.[citation needed]

In many ways, SmarterChild was a precursor to Apple's Siri and Samsung's S Voice. As Shawn Carolan of Menlo Ventures, a Siri investor said, "…When I first encountered Siri, SmarterChild already had 10 million users and was getting a billion messages a day… The market was speaking."[1]

The ActiveBuddy, Colloquis and Microsoft team that launched and nurtured SmarterChild's current project is AB2.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (October 21, 2011). "Siri Was Born A Man And Other Things You Don't Know About Apple's New Personal Assistant". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2014. 

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