The basic chat user interface we use has not changed all that much since the days of green screen terminals. Facebook Messenger, text, WhatsApp, and Snapchat are primarily text based apps with added images which selected by the user.
But a new company wants to change the "boring strings of text" we send into "expressive messaging". OMG Labs was created to "develop new ways to communicate".
One of the founders, Harsh Goel, used to prototype social apps at Google.
Co-founder Jason Yonker worked in Google Maps and was previously lead iOS engineer for Garmin. The company secured seed funding from the Smart Start Fund.
The Pext app aims to change the chat app. It was built from the ground up four months ago to avoid the bolt-ons that have been added to text messaging apps over the years.
With Pext, any message becomes an automatically generated picture to more accurately convey your emotions.
The system that finds the perfect image for a message and inserts it as a background for your message.
You can add hashtags to specify images and send messages by third party apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Snapchat.
The app is available to download on both iOS and Android platforms.
Messaging apps such as Kik and Super provide a separate image search feature to attach images to the message. Pext integrates image search into its app.
The images are sourced from Google image search, and there is a "system" in place which "determines the right images for a message".
DCMA takedown notices are issued by the owner of the original image. Consumer apps such as Pext use Google images which may be subject to copyright. If the original owner of the content issues a takedown notice then the image must be removed.
In a corporate environment using images from the web without permission is a definite no-no.
OMG labs may want to consider this if they discover that their own IP has been used at some stage in the future -- without their explicit agreement.