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Supposedly Google's Majel will be called Google Assistant

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Supposedly Google's Majel will be called Google Assistant
It looks like Google's next iteration of its voice command software is starting to take shape. TechCrunch is reporting that the product may have shed its codename "Majel" in favor of an official name: Google Assistant. This is especially interesting given that Android chief Andy Rubin, notoriously said that he doesn't "believe your phone should be an assistant". 

Another interesting thing is that TechCrunch is reporting that Google Assistant is now in the hands of the Android team (along with search engineer Amit Singhal) not the mysterious Google X project, which is where Majel had lived. Word has it that Google has been building this product with three goals in mind:

  1. Gather all information and make it understandable by computers.
  2. Create a personalization layer
  3. Build a mobile, voice-powered productivity engine, which is focused less on finding information and more on getting things done

All of this sounds pretty logical. The current voice controls from Google are mainly focused on finding info or communication, so adding in more productivity tools makes sense. The personalization layer is the "plussification" of everything Google that we've been seeing, which is an effort to gather more individual and local data. And, the first goal seems like that has been one of the overarching goals of Google since before it was even called Google. 

Of course, many will call this nothing more than a Siri competitor, but as always, there is the Google openness to consider. Word has it that Google is planning to "extend this service to developers" just like it has with its current voice control app. So, there will likely be APIs allowing developers to hook into the Assistant platform, and just like the current voice control, we may even see a number of third party apps built on top of Google's software. 

The bad news is that the newest info has this product not being released until Q4 of this year.

source: TechCrunch

24 Comments
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posted on 03 Mar 2012, 20:26 7

1. Chronos (Posts: 257; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


Majel, with its reference to Star Trek, would be a much better name. It's obvious the voiced assistant will be released along with the new Nexus smartphone.

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 20:46 5

3. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5582; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


I don't disagree about Majel being a better name. However, you have to know something about Star Trek to make the connection. Do you think the current crop of twentysomethings follow Star Trek?

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 01:48 2

9. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


In one word: No

posted on 05 Mar 2012, 01:15

23. TheMonnbeam (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)


I'm 21, and I was raised on the original Star Trek. :p
In fact, most the people at my particular school would get the reference.

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 20:29 1

2. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


i hope it can operate apps like how Utter! can.

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 20:54

4. GalaxyOptimus (Posts: 23; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


I hope it can be renamed, just like Jennie

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 20:56 1

5. protozeloz (Posts: 5371; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Q4 is quite late go the party, I was expecting the IO so show it off, but I guess they would like it to be part of jelly bean

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 21:03 5

6. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2657; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Making it part of Jelly Bean would be even worse than releasing it in Q4, because that would mean it wouldn't get out to the ecosystem at large until well into 2013

posted on 03 Mar 2012, 21:29 4

7. protozeloz (Posts: 5371; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Agree, but being in Q4 my fear is that the new API needed by devs to use it or by the app to operate in a mesmerizing way might need to be updated into phones

My bet was on 4.1 on the IO so many phones will have it by Q4 but regardless it may take some time to be available on a wide number of devices if the app involves new API

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 09:48 2

15. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


im assuming jellybean is 4.1. I cant see them making enough major changes to the UI/system to justify the 5.0 moniker

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 11:18 1

17. protozeloz (Posts: 5371; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


5.0 is supposed to be because it could be used as a desktop device (native desktop environment) and new gestures that get rid of buttons (see chrome) and new other features could be a part of the 5.0. I think there are enough changes for it to be 5.0 instead, i can see the OS being more fast and having new features.

My prediction will be

4.1 on IO with new stuff for Google TV, improvements and bug fixes, maybe a new animation or two and android @ home.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 13:24 1

19. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


do you think they are trying to beat MS to the punch of a desktop class tablet? I havent heard any "real" features of jellybean yet, so honestly I dont know one way or the other. I just cant fathom another big change so quickly after releasing ICS. Adding a few features to the current OS and doing some tweaking would warrant the 4.1 like eclair, froyo, and gingerbread. If they are going desktop hybrid then i could see a 5.0.
That just seems almost counter productive though after they said they were going after the "fragmentation" issue.

The whole # updates have been major UI overhauls with tweaks and new features being x.xx updates... so unless ICS is being replaced already or heavily modified, which i just dont see happening, its probably going to be 4.1. Of course, I could be wrong. We will find out soon enough, eh? :)

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 14:05 1

20. protozeloz (Posts: 5371; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


again I can be Wong but my wild guess they can help build a lot of features for Jelly bean and Help reduce fragmentation too. also remember that ICS will be a year old by the end of Q4 so Q4 will be good for another mayor android update unlike the older ones that where done half a year we are having full year laps in here, remember Honeycomb got an update in the IO too and remained as Honeycomb

my prediction list for both the IO and the year end Nexus with the new android version goes like this

-New update on IO, mostly bug fixes and improvements for phones and tablets. and a tweak here and there

-new manufacturer support team, so those who want to have their hands on alpha and beta builds must have a device that has some requirements taken care of (aka ideal hardware guidelines).

-android @ home and more NFC stuff

-announcement of the name of the new OS

-possibility of making open betas of the new OS (I have the right to dream)

- an OS version that could be used on a regular processor architecture.

-introduction of the new assistant(hopefully its not a boring one, and its useful)

-something related with the company that created the smallest phone ever (they bough it last year) and we heard nothing about them

-Motorola will make android powered Cable Boxes that will also serve as hubs for connection your device with your house.

-over 9000!

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 14:33 1

21. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yea but honeycomb was the exception, not the rule. Until then every numerical release had its own name. 1.5,1.6, 2.0,2.1,2.2,2.3 were all named upgrades. I think honeycomb didnt get named upgrades because they knew it was a stopgap OS and was going to be quickly replaced by ICS. Only the major UI revisions got a new number. 2.0, 3.0,4.0. They also ran the 2.xx OS for over 2 years now, so there is no need to copy apple and have a new number every year (even though iOS is much less deserving of new numbers since the UI has barely been touched).Thats my theory anyways.

Side bet? on 4.1 vs 5.0? :)

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 15:41 1

22. protozeloz (Posts: 5371; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


My bet is on 5.0(or at least not 4.1) ... but I make no big bets in there something simple should do it .

posted on 05 Mar 2012, 07:30 1

24. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)


microsoft had tablet pc in 07 such as hp pavilion tx1000 series i still have it and love it

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 01:08 5

8. lukasound (Posts: 152; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


"Many will call this Siri competitor"? Isn't Siri a Voice commands competitor?

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 05:51 2

10. Striker (Posts: 92; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)


Another copy tryout. Another future failure...

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:50 7

11. theBankRobber (Posts: 645; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


You mean like siri was Apples idea? Haha don't kid yourself. They bought out siri and implied it to their IOS, Google on the other hand has had voice actions for a few years now. Its not a copy, its improving on their already built from the ground up program. Its funny how the word 'COPY' gets thrown around these days by uneducated people.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 08:48 6

13. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


well said...how can Google be copying when they are improving there own voice technology which was out way before siri ..the most annoying thing about apple fans is they assume that apple do everything first.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 09:29 5

14. DIYguy (Posts: 190; Member since: 27 Feb 2011)


lol as it was googles idea in the first place... Like in many things nokia was first. Even the nokia 5800 had voice commands

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 08:31 4

12. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


"Majel" would never have worked on Verizon. They've already licensed the term "droid" from the Star Wars franchise. Everyone knows that Star Wars and Star Trek cannot exist in the same universe. It could create a paradox that would destroy everything.

Unless...

OH MY GOD!!! Q4 release? Mayan 12-21-12 prophecy? The signs are all there aren't they?!

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 09:49 2

16. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


thumbs up for the dork-gasm. lol

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 12:47 1

18. Skidro13 (Posts: 58; Member since: 27 Jul 2010)


How about a pre release beta for galaxy nexus user :)

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