New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Google to Launch Siri Rival Soon?

Apple's artificial intelligence agent Siri was one of the key new features in the iPhone 4S. The impressive system has generated a lot of publicity and has put voice recognition technologies back into the forefront. Many companies are expected to integrate more voice enabled applications in the coming year.

Google's Android has long had voice dictation and command capabilities, but the company seems to be stepping up their efforts in the coming months. AndroidandMe reports on a secret project codenamed Majel which is meant to be an evolution of Google's Voice Actions with the addition of natural language processing. This natural language processing is what gives Siri an edge over other simple voice recognition systems.

In a Slashgear interview with Matias Duarte, Google's Director of Android OS User Experience, they describe their approach which won't try to mimic Siri's attitude:
The metaphor I like to take is – if it’s Star Wars, you have these robot personalities like C-3PO who runs around and he tries to do stuff for you, messes up and makes jokes, he’s kind of a comic relief guy. Our approach is more like Star Trek, right, starship Enterprise; every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just “Computer.” And you can talk to it and you can touch it, you can interact with it at the same time as you talk with it. It’s just another way to interface with the computer.
The codename "Majel" comes from Majel Barrett-Roddenberry who voiced the Federation Computer from Star Trek.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

95 months ago
And every Android fan who said Siri was just a gimmick will think this is the greatest thing in the world.
Rating: 81 Votes
95 months ago

i find it interesting that Android has something Siri like for years and Apple replicates it and adds a few upgrades and it is now a miraculous invention LOL

like the pull down task bar Android has had since 1.0

to each his own. i own an iPhone 2,3G,3Gs, and 4 and many Androids and they both have their good and bad sides.

Apple didnt invent the smartphone and neither did Android but they are both great devices today.

i dont care which one i am using they can both keep Siri. i dont like my phone talking back to me :)

People like you will never understand the difference b/w Voice Recognition and Machine Learning.

Go on ravelling.
Rating: 23 Votes
95 months ago
I take issue with this being called artificial intelligence.
Rating: 20 Votes
95 months ago
Who says android just seems like a cheap iOS copy?

Pushing the forefront of innovation, they are.
Rating: 18 Votes
95 months ago
This might actually be legit useful... might.

Probably not.

I'd like it if Siri could understand moderately complicated commands like,

"Add to my calendar: calculus II final at 10:30 on the 13th in shillman room 153."

It ends up adding calculus II final at 1:53 on the 13th with no room at all... between having to fix the time and room, I may as well have just tapped it all out.
Rating: 16 Votes
95 months ago
“I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant,” he said. “Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.” - Andy Rubin
Rating: 16 Votes
95 months ago

Me too, me too... :rolleyes:

Their 'Computer' will never make it out of beta...

Star Wars > Star Trek
Rating: 14 Votes
95 months ago
Of course....
Rating: 13 Votes
95 months ago

Who says android just seems like a cheap iOS copy?

Pushing the forefront of innovation, they are.

There sure is some innovation in mobile malware and stuff.
Google does great things in the web space. Android is really nothing innovating in my opinion.

Now I'll wait for Android fanboys to bitch about my opinions and understanding.

@topic: No one wants to talk to a phone; unless we copy it and do it for our fanboys!
Rating: 13 Votes
95 months ago
So they're implying that Siri is a "comic relief guy"? Uh. In that case, "she" has a terrible sense of humor when simply providing the nearest restaurants or helping me solve an equation.

Yes, there are some "humorous" responses, but only to non-answerable queries, and only added as easter eggs. It's not the intention of the actual service.

Trying to differentiate themselves like this and failing, indicates that it'll be very similar to Siri indeed, and it's probably no coincidence that it's about to be released so soon after it either.
Rating: 11 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]