Mei is the world’s first mobile messaging app that comes with an optional AI assistant designed to improve your relationships. Mei (pronounced ‘may‘) represents the next generation of messaging where AI gives you real-time intelligence as you chat.

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All it takes is one misinterpreted text to land you in a heap of trouble with a friend, significant other, or colleague. Even serial texters aren’t immune — studies show that most recipients fail to tell the difference between sarcasm and seriousness about 44 percent of the time.

That’s why Es Lee, a Harvard graduate with a degree in computer science, founded Mei, a mobile messaging startup that leverages machine learning to suss out the subtext of conversations.

“One of the difficulties of maintaining relationships through text is that it’s [possible] to come across as crass or rude — even when that was never the intention,” Lee told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “Emotion is lost in text messages. It’s a different form of body language that people aren’t quite attuned to detecting yet.”

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Mei, which launched in beta earlier this year, is built on the back of “millions” of messages sourced from the app’s more than 100,000 users, data from two universities, and the dev team’s own exchanges. Lee claims it’s one of the largest datasets of its kind.

Using natural language processing and sophisticated algorithms that take into account response time, terseness, word choice, and other factors, Mei builds a psychological profile of your texting partners. It’s more nuanced than you might expect; Lee said that it’s able to determine the gender and age of a person from nothing more than the types of emoji they use. Add messages to the picture, and Mei can tease out the type of relationship between two people — and the strength of that relationship.

Almost half a million people have downloaded a trial version of the Android app so far, with the final version launching next week

These users have been receiving real time advice on their relationships, anomaly detection if someone is acting strange, personality profiles and a similarity score, which gives you a percentage out of 100 of how compatible you are with someone you’re texting.

You can even ask Mei questions like “Does Thomas love me?” or “Who seems to care about me the most?” and the AI assistant will respond with an answer based on its analysis.

However, users will have to purchase token credits to ask certain questions and use certain features.

Mei can also track your mood and tell you how other users are feeling that day.

It will also send you alerts when you’re talking to certain people like: “You’re more quick tempered than Alex, they can be calming for you.”

Mei says that users can turn on and off features to protect their privacy and will warn users if an action will result in their data being shared with third parties.

The company behind the app says that none of its users will be personally identifiable because the only piece of personal information it requires is a phone number.

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How to download the beta version of Mei on Android?

Go to the Google Play Store, click on”Apps” and type in “Mei” in the search bar.

The Mei logo should appear as the top suggestion.

When you click on the logo you will see there is a warning that says: “This app is in development. It may be unstable.”

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If you are happy to proceed then click “Install” and the app will download to your device.

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