Yahoo Launches a Text-Based Assistant Called Captain

O Captain! My Captain! Yahoo has one more product to share. It’s a text-based personal assistant, which is surely very rare. Captain, Yahoo called it, but no one quite knows why. MakeUseOf has all the answers, so there’s no need to cry.

Yahoo has had a tumultuous few years. The last time we wrote about the company was in December 2016 when Yahoo revealed another giant security breach. However, just occasionally Yahoo delivers something good. Its latest product, called Captain, is actually rather neat.

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A Free, Text-Based Personal Assistant

Captain is a free, text-based personal assistant. It’s not an app and therefore doesn’t require you to download anything. Instead, you just text “Hi” to 773-786 (U.S.-only) to make contact. Once you have accepted the terms, Captain will help you get started. Captain is obviously nowhere near as powerful as Siri, Alexa, or Cortana, but that may actually be a good thing.

So what can Captain actually do? You can either use Captain alone, or add members to your group. You can then use Captain to create reminders for you or other group members, and create lists to be shared with other group members. All accomplished using nothing but SMS text messages. There’s scope to expand beyond this simple start too, but it’s good enough for now.

This may seem old school, but it has several advantages over using an app. For one, using an “old” technology means even people without smartphones can use Captain. And your kids will find it harder to ignore an incoming text message than a message on one of the countless apps they have installed on their phones. It’s also free apart from your standard text messaging rate.

Yahoo Is Actually Genius

Captain proves that Yahoo can still deliver the goods. The company is currently in the middle of being acquired by Verizon, and yet it has still found the time to create an eminently useful tool. And Captain follows hot on the heels of Yahoo Answers Now, which is genius for other (more comedic) reasons.