At the current time, Siri is one and only with no other examples. However the iOS assistant is in its early ages but still its miles ahead of any rival voice recognition platforms. As a big rival Android has implemented voice search from beginning, but it lacks Siri’s conversational A.I. element. That may change soon, as according to a report Google will soon release a major update to its Android Voice Actions.
The aim of the update is to make Voice Actions more Siri-like, responding to casual language. The project is nicknamed Majel, after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry: the voice of Star Trek‘s Federation Computer. The initial release of Majel will be limited to Google search queries, but is expected to eventually incorporate actions for system settings and third-party apps. Majel could be released to the public by the end of the year, but an early 2012 launch is more likely.
The Star Trek-related codename may have significance. In an October interview, Google’s Matias Duarte told that its approach to voice control was similar to the starship Enterprise; it wouldn’t pretend to be a spunky person, it’s just a computer that can talk, listen, and interpret. In other words, don’t expect the Android equivalent to have any of Siri’s cheekiness.
It’s wise of Google to quickly develop its own Siri rival, but it may be an uphill climb. Siri’s tech can’t be duplicated overnight: its tech has roots in a military DARPA project, and is the culmination of over 40 years of research. It was also developed independently as a third-party app before Apple bought it in 2010. The company then spent another year and a half advancing it further and preparing for its public (beta) release. Google is also competing against a moving target: while it plays catch-up, Apple’s engineers are working on the next steps for Siri.
Still, Google is the company best suited to challenge Siri. It already has its own voice recognition tech, and it can gradually incorporate more natural speech into its repertoire. Let’s see what Google brings as an opponent to Siri. Will Majel be like Siri or what? Time will decide it. Well it’s something good for Android users that they will soon have something like Siri.
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