Crossposted at Medium

Pick up your smartphone (assuming that you’re not holding it already). Now go to the home screen and try to count the number of apps with some sort of messaging functionality.

Last year, 89% of Internet users globally reported using messengers each month. And the odds are, you have at least two: a built-in SMS app and some sort of a messenger service. But the market offers so many more of them. Take a look at the graph showing the amount of active users on top social platforms, bearing in mind that most of the listed apps have DM functionality.

And if you think you’re the only one who get’s lost in those apps every now and then, rest assured. Here are just some of the statements (or, rather, cries for help) from people frustrated by the sheer number of channels they use for their daily communication routine:

Curiously enough, using those apps seems justified: MS Teams and Slack are for work; Instagram, Twitter and Messenger are directly linked to the vast social network of their contacts; iMessage, Telegram and WhatsApp are for personal communication or videochats.

In fact, we tend to have chats with the same people across different platforms, depending on the context of communication — but also use specific messaging apps to talk to certain people (like using WhatsApp exclusively to talk to a parent who is not on Facebook or other social media).

As a result, messaging takes time. A lot of time. According to AppAnnie’s 2019 report, users spent 685 billion hours on social and messaging apps during 2018. Notably, a lion’s share of that time goes to waste — according to a 2019 Slack survey, 68% of people who use messengers waste about 30 minutes each day just switching between apps.

How did we get here?

It all started with SMS, which was an open platform: everybody who had a phone could text anyone via the same protocol.

As people got access to the Internet on their phones, they started switching over to messaging apps (they offered free-of-charge texting and allowed to share more media, like photos, embedded links, etc.)

A decade went by, and now we have all sorts of messaging tools: self-destroying messages, super private encoded messages, messages which are also comments on social media, messages that are mimicking actual letters… and most of those apps are isolated from each other, prompting us to spend more time texting than ever.

All these types of messages and messengers are using their own proprietary technologies and are the proverbial walled gardens with seemingly no means of unification.

Let’s face it: the Big Tech would never solve this isolation problem themselves. While Facebook has considered unifying the technical infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, it would never merge with the apps it doesn’t own; similarly, Apple would never make iMessages available to Android users, because otherwise some people would stop buying iPhones.

Can this problem be solved?

Yes, and that all-in-one solution is exactly what we’re building. Called Memri, it’s an AI assistant unifying all of your data securely within the same app. It deals with the biggest pains of chat app users:

Memri is people-centric and not service-centric. Because at the end of the day, you don’t really need to remember which messenger that person used to send you that document/photo/link that you need right now. With Memri, having just one piece of info is enough to find what you need, whether that is the name of the file, the person who sent it to you, the time or place where you read it. Our solution helps you to isolate yourself from the constant stream of notifications that are bombarded onto you throughout the day, making your phone use more efficient and meaningful.