Why should wechat be an input method?


Welcome to the wechat subscription number of “chuangshiji”: sinachungshiji
By long Zhiteng
Source: Alphabet list (ID: wujicaijing)
Most of the five experimental projects mentioned in Zhang Xiaolong’s public lecture have been presented in the wechat 8.0 update, such as moving facial expressions, real-time adding status, songs that can be visually shared, and more simple floating window display. The only missing is the wechat input method that is still “worthy of investment” in Zhang Xiaolong’s opinion.
The wechat input method, which is still in the research and development stage, has not yet shown its glory, but has met the eyes of its peers: Zhang Xiaolong, the forefoot, has just pointed out that the existing input method products on the market have the disadvantages of monitoring users’ chat records, and Sogou input method, which was acquired by Tencent, pointedly points out that “we are not optimistic” about the future of wechat input method.
The solidified market structure has given Sogou input method the courage to be so hard. According to a report of mob Research Institute, CR3 is more than 90% in the current input method segmentation field, and Sogou is far ahead with 53.9% share.
Besides the narrow potential market space, the commercialization of input method is not smooth. Li you (pseudonym), an input method product manager who has been in the industry for many years, told the alphabet that at present, the commercial realization path of each company has chosen the tob business model of in-depth customized development for vehicle and hardware equipment.
“The main reason is that the panel of user input method is so large, and the realization way of to C advertising business is limited. Keyword trigger, association, voice egg and other methods are all too harmful to the user experience and the path is too narrow to form a long-term development Li you further explained.
Commercialization has also become a common problem in the input method related reports of third-party research institutions such as mob Research Institute.
However, the national application identity of wechat brings new possibilities to the above two problems.
Among all the input methods used in the scene, the one with the longest use time and the highest frequency is social chat. As a big Mac in the social track, wechat has 1.09 billion daily users, which is enough to expand the imagination of input method. Furthermore, for wechat, which emphasizes not to disturb users, input method may also undertake the task of data entry in the future.
This is what Zhang Xiaolong talked about in the open class. In addition to protecting users’ privacy, wechat personally came down to do a deeper consideration of the input method: optimize the chat experience through the input method, improve the efficiency of wechat search, and increase the development and operation of wechat internal public domain traffic.
Taking Sogou input method as an example, the relationship between the input method’s Thesaurus and the search engine’s keywords has been continuous since its birth.
In 2005, Ma Zhankai, the father of Sogou input method, redefined the input method by transferring the search engine thesaurus to the input method thesaurus.
In 2019, Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of Sogou, further proposed in an interview with sina science and technology that “the input method can bring volume to search through recommendation”. Baidu is also doing the same action, Li you revealed to the alphabet list: “protecting the market share of Baidu search and seizing the upstream flow of search are also an important reason for the existence of Baidu input method.”
According to the official introduction of wechat, there are more than 500 million monthly active users of wechat search, with two primary portals including the search box on the home page and search on the discovery page, as well as multiple secondary portals in the chat page and the circle of friends page. In this year’s open class, wechat souyisou has been placed in the same position as small program, wechat payment and video number.
Based on the important position of search function, the research and development of online input method has become a natural action of wechat.
In the open class on January 19, Zhang Xiaolong mentioned the original intention of wechat as an input method: user privacy is part of the user experience, and wechat makes its own input method, “at least in terms of security, we can do it well enough.”.
Zhang Xiaolong said that wechat will not retain chat content. Wechat may be the product that pays the most attention to privacy protection in China’s Internet, but it also brings a problem, that is, a large amount of data generated by nearly 1.1 billion users cannot be left in the wechat system for further analysis and processing. If this part of data can be retained, it may help wechat form another product barrier besides social networking.
At present, no other products can shake WeChat’s tiktok in the social sphere. However, high viscosity products such as jitter are spreading through efficient content to complement the communication between people based on content. Under the challenge of constantly strengthening the chat function of the above products, wechat’s social relationship chain based on acquaintances is facing the risk of gradual erosion. Social networking can produce content (wechat public platform). Who says that content must not produce social networking?
Zhang Xiaolong
Input method is one of the most efficient ways to analyze user behavior. If wechat introduces the input method, the resulting personal database accumulation can not only optimize the chat experience, but more importantly, produce a deeper understanding of what users want to chat. These data will be optimized or improved, or will become the second line of defense against WeChat’s basic tiktok attacks.
In addition to defense, wechat input method can also be used for attack.
On the way to optimize the chat experience, the vanguard expression pack plays a key role. According to Zhang Xiaolong, “expression is a basic element of expression.”
In the wechat 8.0 update, the expression effect is the most touching user experience. But this kind of dynamic expression interaction has already been launched in some input method products, such as AR expression. The reason why it has not attracted the public’s attention is that there is no national product like wechat, which serves as the carrier for the landing of this function. For input method companies, this function can only be used to show off technology.
Bringing users’ attention to input method through facial expression and constantly improving the experience Optimization of input method in micro function may become a tipping point for wechat input method to break the existing input method market pattern.
After all, no one knows their users better than wechat, and no user will refuse a better chat experience.

According to the survey report of “special analysis of China’s third party input method market 2019” by Yiguan, in addition to AR expression, many important functions of input method, such as text and image scanning, real-time translation, speech recognition, image search and so on, have been realized in wechat.
Integrating the existing functions and quickly launching a self owned input method product, there is no technical threshold for wechat, and the integration of a unified and independent wechat input method will also be more in line with the wechat product value of emphasizing “simplicity”.
If “people’s life will become more and more online in the future”, as predicted by Zhang Xiaolong, the expression just as the original basis of communication will obviously not meet the needs of convenient and fast communication between people.
Through AI technology, making the input method more and more intelligent, and then understanding the user’s expression habits has become an important part of improving the user’s online communication experience with wechat.
According to the report of mob Research Institute, AI based functions have obvious advantages in the proportion of users’ excited and expectant functions.
Li you also holds the same view, that “Ai input method is an increasingly obvious trend.”
If wechat input method can be combined with wechat 8.0 personal state for more detailed optimization logic, it is not difficult to realize intelligent dialogue in some states.
AI enabled intelligent dialogue is essentially different from the automatic reply in the QQ era. The landing form of more targeted intelligent reply will be more similar to the intelligent customer service of platform products.
The above ideas can be realized in the next version of wechat. Because in the field of third-party input method, “there are many functions including intelligent reply, intelligent writing and AI assistant. Now Baidu input method and Sogou input method are available.” Li you told the alphabet.
Analysts from mob Research Institute mentioned that the vertical customized third-party input method for different professional identities can not only optimize product functions and bring better user experience, but also an opportunity to expand the market for latecomers in this field.
After the wechat input method continues to improve the machine learning ability, according to the intelligent analysis of chat scenarios, it will gradually become a reality for users to present the information they need while typing.
At the same time, wechat input method will also play the role of adapting to different scenarios, helping wechat further develop and commercialize, and attracting businesses to settle in.
This is also a commercial path being verified. In an interview with China first finance and economics in 2018, Wang Xiaochuan talked about his imagination about the future of Sogou input method and said, “next, what Sogou input method should do is to connect information, services and goods.” He gave an example. When the user talks “where to eat at noon” through the input method, the input method will directly help the user list the candidate catering services.
In the past two years, wechat has been increasing its search business, and plans to launch the action of input method, so that the outside world can see the urgency of wechat to accelerate the opening up of internal ecology and complete the transformation of public domain traffic.
According to the QuestMobile2020 China Mobile Internet autumn report, the Kwai line and fast hand department’s short video + live broadcast product has the obvious effect of preempting user time, and the Tencent Department has slipped.
With the improvement of information processing efficiency brought by content distribution, Toutiao has been eating into the market share of Tencent users for a long time. Tiktok has launched a look at the hot spots, video frequency, live broadcast and other functions to fight headlines products, and even to prohibit the share of the jitter of the link to prevent the attack of the headline system.
Wechat adheres to the search function of PC era in the era of mobile Internet. On the one hand, it conforms to the decentralized product form of wechat. On the other hand, it can be seen that wechat hopes to establish its own traffic distribution system.
Talking about his ten years of thinking on wechat, Zhang Xiaolong said that “connection” and “simple” are the two most representative words of wechat.
“The connection is beautiful. Because the operation of the world depends on the connection of all things. For products, making connections means making the underlying facilities of services, because the results that can be evolved based on connections are the most abundant. ”
For Zhang Xiaolong, who has always emphasized “small and beautiful”, optimizing search efficiency and helping users find the information they need at the first time is a kind of “small and beautiful” of decentralized connection, and also his practice of the product concept of “go as you go”.
The input method, as the entry of text expression, enables wechat to connect the search association with the content in wechat by analyzing the frequency of keywords in users.
WeChat team in the new official account interview revealed, “based on WeChat’s big data analysis, WeChat index can help you see the heat of keywords in WeChat, the heat situation has and is limited to WeChat search, public number articles and friends circle forwarding articles comprehensive analysis.”
However, on the one hand, the production of long text content lags behind the user’s demand for fresh information; on the other hand, it relies too much on the data contact between acquaintances, which is not conducive to the efficient dissemination of information. This is also an important reason why wechat can not become a public opinion square like Weibo.
Using the function of input method to complete the data accumulation triggered by keywords can improve this situation. The keywords updated in real time can help wechat officials to operate and recommend on topics, enable the in-depth development of public domain traffic in wechat, and help the wechat content ecology such as video number, live broadcast and text to improve the optimization experience.
This kind of “hot search booking” can also make wechat run ahead of users’ needs in information dissemination. In 8.0 version of wechat, the function of inserting topic is introduced into personal status setting.
According to incomplete statistics, the topic entrance of WeChat products is currently in the official account, including the “chat topic” in personal status, the chat topic of “chat topic” search, the WeChat public address, the live and video topics, and the issue of “topic of conversation” in the circle of friends and the topic of WeChat index.
These product designs can also be understood as an attitude of wechat officials to encourage users to participate in topic discussions. Through the real-time keyword update of input method, it may be a powerful complement to this function.

As for content production and dissemination, Zhang Xiaolong understood the future trend as live broadcasting.
It remains to be seen whether the future of wechat will be like what Zhang Xiaolong imagined, but the live broadcast will certainly bring more content risks. In order to reduce the content risk and audit cost, it may be another important consideration behind the launch of wechat input method to put the audit link on the intelligent supervision of keywords of input method and speech recognition.
reference material:
Wechat team Q & A: How did wechat index come from? What if someone swipes the data? 》New list
Wechat search 2020 – wechat Search Assistant
“Wechat search appears in the 2021 wechat open class pro, please put away the highlights” – wechat Search Assistant
“Zhang Xiaolong: ten years’ product thinking of wechat” — wechat open class
Sogou Wang Xiaochuan: hope to win 2% – 3% of Baidu’s search share every year, but also use AI to change these two things
Special analysis of China’s third party input method market 2019
Insight into China’s third party input method industry in 2020 — mob Research Institute
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)