Samsung buys AI based personal assistant Viv, developed by Siri's parents



Back in May, we told you that the developers of Siri had tested out their new creation, Viv, at Disrupt. Viv is a personal assistant like Siri, but understands more complex commands and natural language. You can ask Viv questions like "Was it raining in Seattle three Thursdays ago? Try asking that question to your current virtual assistant. Siri responded by saying "Sorry, I can't get weather for dates in the past." Google responded with links to a story about Viv!

Viv also works with third parties, allowing users to order flowers, wire money to a friend, and more. And this afternoon, we received word that the company, Viv Labs, has been purchased by Samsung. The original developers of Siri created the new company two years after their previous outfit was bought by Apple. Viv will take on Siri, Google Now and Cortana; Viv co-founder Dag Kittlaus said that Samsung was selected to purchase the company because "They ship 500 million devices a year." Kittlaus says that this fits into his goal of ubiquity for Viv. The price of the acquisition was not revealed.

This is a space where companies are stepping up big time. In iOS 10, Siri now has access to third party developers which allows users to place orders via the feature. Google might have the most exciting personal assistant platform in the works with Google Assistant. Like Viv, complex questions can be asked, and it will understand natural language. You will be able to ask "How many home runs has Giancarlo Stanton hit in his career?," and then ask a more natural follow-up question like, "How many did he hit this season?"


Samsung could end up using Viv not only on its mobile devices, but on other products as well. The manufacturer could decide to make Viv a feature that differentiates its Android devices from others.

source: TechCrunch

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31 Comments

1. TechNeck

Posts: 649; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

Something to replace S Voice? Count me in fr. S Voice triggers me.

15. tedkord

Posts: 17303; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

S-Voice blows. This is welcome news.

27. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The only issue I've had with S-Vopice is it slow. Maybe because the servers for it are in Korea? I dunno. Even though its slow, it has always been very accurate in my requests. I find them all to suck equally in that I can get my answer faster by other means.

2. manojmcn

Posts: 633; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

Does S Voice still exists? I have been using Samsung phones exclusively from last 5 years. Never used svoice after a day or two of purchase..and will disable it usually.

3. John-Knotts

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Hopefully Viv can tell you if your phone is about to explode. Sorry, couldn't resist..

22. kryme

Posts: 468; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Gotta admit that's a new one congrats

4. metalicblue

Posts: 10; Member since: Oct 05, 2016

good let them all fight for it siri, cortana, google, viv... this was a quick answer to google selfish action

5. iDing-Dong unregistered

This VIV sounds great. I hardly use S-Voice or Siri. Feel weird for me IMO.

6. iamgroot

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

i think this AI thing for tizen development while google launched pixel... they had to develop it if want to play the same level with apple, google and microsoft...

7. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

When Samsung doesn't have enough brains to make a voice assistant and instead lazily buy someone else's and call it their innovation.

8. AlikMalix unregistered

That's want all big companies do!!!

10. Heisenberg

Posts: 373; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

Not all. Google still develops more than them and Apple is the number one culprit that buys

12. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Google bought 185 companies since October 2015. Apple bought 82 companies since March 1988. How is Apple the number one?

17. Heisenberg

Posts: 373; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

Google is into everything hence the name Alphabet.

14. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

google is a software/ad company so i would hope so.

31. AlikMalix unregistered

Dude Google BOUGHT Android!!!

9. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

If you didn't get the hint from the title, atleast try reading the article next time you get confused by something before coming out as the stupid troll.

11. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Fun fact... South Korea is the 2nd smartest country in the world

13. joevsyou

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

you do know pretty much every company does this right? companies buy and sell patents and software programs back and forth. It's nothing new

16. tedkord

Posts: 17303; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Sort of like Apple did with Siri?

24. sissy246

Posts: 7070; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

No, that's what apple does. Just like they did with siri.

29. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Actually they made their own, its called S-Voice. The fact is, Samsung does have the brains, but maybe not the time. Its funny, have you ever said that about any other company? Apple outsources and buys everything for their devices. Has that been an issue? Apple bought Siri. Microsoft made Cortana on their own. Google made their own Google Voice Assistant. It not about brains, its about time, money and commitment. When you need something fast, its better to buy working solution. Its just liek when you want to eat. Do you always go buy raw food and cook it? No. Sure somtimes we by fast food because we are lazy and dont feel liek cooking. But we also buy other peoples cooking because "maybe they cook what we like better than we do." Also consider cost. Samsung maybe doesn't want to spend the money, because look, someone else already did it. So why spend money reinventing the wheel, when someone has already reinvented the wheel and made it better? Its amazing what nasty BS you can say about Samsung, yet when other company's so this; you've said nothing. Doesn't that make you a hypocrite? Android was not developed by Google. They bought it. Microsoft didn't create the apps that make up Office, they didn't make DOS and they didn't even make Unix or Windows. They made those things from buying them from someone else and making them better. So using your analogy, apple must be lazy for not making Siri, they bought it and rolled it into their UI. Microsoft must be lazy in that they did not make all of the office apps or DOS. Oh and when I watch Samsung Unpack events, I've never heard them take credit for others work. We all know Samsung uses Sony for camera sensors, but they also make their own and in side by side comparisons, they are identical in capability. Samsung makes an OS along with other OEM's called Tizen, but its not ready to compete directly with IOS and Android. They use Android. Does that make them lazy? I guess all Android OEM are lazy, because it would actually be smarter for all of them to make their own OS and not be supported vs taking what is readily available and supported and using it?!

18. DellB

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

I see Samsung discontinuing android phones in 2 - 3 years time. With Google outing their own hardware and coming in direct competition with their partners, Samsung are just gathering all they need to breakaway from Google. With their recently released Gear s3 running on Tizen and offering up to 4 days battery life and top notch user experience, vertical integration is the way to go for Samsung. Not to talk of their premium and solidly built hardware, camera technology implementation, and of course, their world wide appeal; it won't be long before we get a third(or fourth, if you count Windows 10) major player in the mobile industry.

19. TerryTerius unregistered

That is only going to happen if they ever get their own app store off the ground. That is by a huge margin the most difficult part of them actually striking out on their own. You can have the best hardware in the world, and it won't make a difference without that in the smart phone market. And that is definitely not going to happen in only two years or so. And really, I don't think Samsung has much of anything to worry about from Google. I'm not sure that's a strong impetuous for them to leave. I understand the argument, but it's not as if the presence of Google has made a substantial difference over the years so far. The fact that Google is more directly controlling the material aspect of their products doesn't seem to be much of a game changer, although it certainly has the potential to be.

20. hwb01

Posts: 355; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

App store was what really killed Windows phone, other than that it was a very good platform. Developers won't support an OS without users and users won't support an OS without apps.

21. TerryTerius unregistered

Pretty much. That chicken and egg problem is incredibly difficult to crack. Especially at this point.

23. kryme

Posts: 468; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

U think in 3 years pixel will over throw galaxy phones plus why Sammy can't have the best of both world for the next 20 years...

25. sissy246

Posts: 7070; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I hope this is on the note 8. Sounds like it will be great.

26. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Cortana said "who cares" and gives the current seattle weather.

28. sissy246

Posts: 7070; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Then get lost

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