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.