“Samantha is a real girl who lives in Brooklyn. She’s old enough to drink and experienced enough to give love advice. But other than that she prefers to keep it anonymous, like ‘Gossip Girl.'”
This is the description for “Samantha,” a new messaging app where all you can do is message a real girl named Samantha.
You ask something, Samantha gives you her opinion.
If the concept behind “Samantha” seems familiar, it’s because the app is the second experiment from Ethan Gliechtenstein, the creator of the “Ethan” app that made waves for its similar singular function: All you could do was use the app to message a guy named Ethan.
“Samantha,” however, is the natural counterpart to the “Ethan” app, inspired by the love story in the 2013 movie “Her,” where writer Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) falls for his new artificial intelligence software, also named Samantha, who is voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
“I think for anyone that’s ever watched that movie, there’s hope for her to become a reality,” Samantha told Business Insider in an email. “She was the ideal woman and the fact that Ethan was able to create a real version of the app, it only made sense for him to make a female version. Although it’s clearly stated that the number one rule here is to not fall in love with Sam, I’m very curious to see what will happen after the launch.”
The real-world Samantha is Ethan’s sister. She’s in her twenties and works in the music industry.
The app’s website lists rules such as “Don’t fall in love with Samantha,” “Be nice,” and “Keep your mind out of the gutter,” but Samantha says she’s interested in seeing what happens when she walks the fine line between question and answer and the natural flirtation that can occur when two people are writing each other.
“Sometimes this air of mystery gives room for the people that talk to me to project their own ideas of companionship onto me,” she says. “I think as a young girl I’m naturally a bit flirtatious, but also a great listener and problem solver, like any good friend of yours.”
And while “Samantha” and “Ethan” are virtually the same app with different people behind them, “Samantha” introduces a new feature beyond the simple messaging functionality: status updates.
With status updates, Samantha will be able to come up with talking points, broadcast what she’s up to, and let people know when she’s asleep.
The status updates act as yet another creative outlet for Samantha, allowing her personality to be front and center. It’s the difference between a simple question-and-answer app and creating an enigma like Scarlett Johansson’s character in “Her.”
“I loved ‘Her’ and wish there was a Sam for everyone,” Samantha said.
A few days ago, Facebook employee Bo Ren wrote a blog post about how she fell for Ethan after using his app, which serves as proof to both Ethan and Samantha that they are on to something that could strike a chord with people. In fact, Ethan and Samantha are building the upcoming “Ethan platform,” which will allow people to construct their own single purpose messaging apps when it launches in a few weeks.
To talk to Samantha yourself, you can download the app right here.
Just be careful: Remember what happened in “Her.”