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Your personal  assistant is now just  a chat away

Digital personal assistant services are not new to us. With Facebook launching its own called M (integrated inside Messenger) last month, it now joins Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Windows’ Cortona as the big-four. There are others such as Assistant and Quip (rumoured to be a favourite of Mark Zuckerberg), too. But, it’s only recently that WhatsApp is being used as an assistance platform. Quick and reliable, there something re-assuring about these apps, as if you are chatting with a friend. Here are some you can keep handy:
TARS: Named after the robot in Interstellar, this Bangalore-based service was launched this year. Just send a ‘Hello TARS’ WhatsApp message to 9900876785, and you can ask questions right away. Search-based answers aside, TARS also assists with payment related queries. Need a flight? It will ask for the boarding point and destination, book the best available flight, and leave the payment up to you by sending you the secure link. From 10 am to 10 pm. Details: hellotars.com
Tathastu: Launched this year, Tathastu is the brainchild of four students from IIT-Bombay and managed to get the Best Startup recognition from the Quora community within its first month. Currently inviting customers on a first-come-first-serve basis, Tathastu has similar services as that of TARS, and is currently available only in Mumbai. But good news is that they are expanding very soon to other cities. Register on tathastunow.com
Haptik: From finding deals to buying gifts, Haptik has you covered. The app also checks PNR statuses, finds you an electrician and even files customer complaints. Launched last year, it was named among the Top 25 Mobile Companies to watch in 2015 at the Mobile World Congress, and is planning to allow brands to directly engage with their customers. Available on Android and iOS. Details: haptik.co
—Karan Pillai

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