Google Android to take on Apple iPhone's Siri
Published 15/12/2011 | 13:39
GOOGLE’S own version of Apple’s voice software, Siri, could be launched by the end of this year, it has been reported.
Google is aiming to challenge Apple's Siri 'personal assistant', which was launched by the firm's Phil Schiller Photo: Reuters
Currently dubbed ‘Majel’ after the voice computer from science-fiction TV series Star Trek, Google Android’s vocal-input software is apparently in the final stages of development, with a view for a December release.
According to technology website Android and Me the project has been developed by the notoriously secret Google centre in San Francisco, known as Google X, over the past year. Earlier this month Google acquired Clever Sense, developers of the Alfred assistant smartphone application, in a move that strongly indicated the company’s intentions to cash in on Siri’s success.
While most Android phones currently carry Google’s interactive app, Voice Actions, the software still requires a rigid user input, without the freedom to stray beyond pre-set commands. If reports are substantiated, Majel will detect users’ vocal behaviour in a similar way to Apple’s Siri, offering a more conversational experience.
Speaking to Slashgear in October, Android operating system director Matias Duarte said the voice assistant being developed would be like “the Starship Enterprise,” which explains the software’s sci-fi referencing name. He also added: “You can talk to it and you can touch it, you can interact with it at the same time as you talk with it,” providing further evidence that Google aims to provide users with an exceptionally lifelike virtual character.
With December now half way through, the alleged end-of-year release date seems ambitious, with a spillover to early 2012 appearing much more likely. However Android And Me, which broke the news, claims only internet search queries will be available in the initial release, with more to be added throughout next year.