Google Buys Customer Service Automation Platform Company Onward

By Noah Long ● October 4, 2018

Customer service automation platform Onward has announced that it has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed amount. Rémi Cossart and Pramod Thammaiah, the cofounders of Onward and several employees at the company, will be joining Google. Prior to the acquisition, Onward has raised $120,000 in private funding in two rounds of funding.

Onward’s enterprise chatbot technology is able to understand natural language processing to determine the meanings from the messages of customers. Based on location, historical activity, and the login status of customers, Onward’s technology can personalize and provide contextual information to questions.

According to VentureBeat, Onward’s visual bot builder allows clients to tailor answers with decision trees. Onward’s bots have been autonomously tracking shipments, adding leads, and tracking conversations via integrations with companies like Help Scout, Hubspot, Salesforce, Shopify, and Zendesk.

And before Onward debuted its software-as-a-service (SaaS), it launched a virtual assistant called Agent Q — which provides product recommendations after receiving voice commands.

“At Onward, we’re focused on transforming the way people communicate with computers. Back in 2015, we were amazed by the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence — particularly in natural language processing and machine learning — and were convinced there was real opportunity to put those technologies to work. So we started Onward with the mission of allowing computers to participate in natural, human conversations,” said Onward in a blog post. “With Google, we’ll be able to expand the reach of the technologies that power Onward. These core technologies are what got us excited in the first place, and we are excited to bring them to Google.”

Google will likely integrate Onward’s technology into Google Assistant, which is the virtual assistant technology used to power its Internet of Things devices like the Google Home.