WSJ: Google speeding up development of Siri-type personal assistant for Android

WSJ: Google speeding up development of Siri-type personal assistant for Android
A story in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal about the smartphone ecosystem mentions that according to people on the inside, Google is accelerating the development of a Siri-esque virtual, interactive personal assistant for Android users. While whatever Google produces will naturally bring comparisons to Siri, Google has higher aspirations. There has been some speculation that the finished design would make Google's virtual assistant much more powerful with more capabilities than Siri.

Introduced at WWDC 2012 last week, iOS 6 brings enhanced features to Siri such as the ability to get Yelp and Open Table reviews and make reservations for you at a restaurant that you are checking out reviews for. Siri will now also give you sports scores and information. In addition, Siri has taken her act over to the third-generation Apple iPad. Meanwhile, the S Voice feature exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy S III might be the closest that Android users get to Siri for the time being. A recent head to head face off between the two showed that S Voice is ready for prime time.

There also have been a number of apps in the Google Play Store that try to ape Siri's functionality, but most don't have the deep integration with the OS that Siri has with iOS. Google's own Voice Actions also does some of things that Siri does, including the ability to set an alarm or push out a text message, all without the vocals that give Siri a personality. We recently highlighted an app called Robin that does have the Siri-esque voice, but is limited at present to navigation, gas station locations, Yelp reviews and weather. The app also offers some Twitter integration.

For Android owners who would like a strong Siri-eque feature on their phone, the news that Google is speeding up development of  such an application is music to their ears. In the meantime, those rocking the green robot who absolutely must have an interactive virtual personal assistant can buy the Samsung Galaxy S III when it launches in the States, or check out the options at Google Play Store until Google does release its own version of Siri.

source: WallStreetJournal

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122 Comments

111. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

oh god leave the trolls talk, I mean they already say they do not troll on android articles and there you have them... let them believe all the crap they want. they can cry bloody murder till their heart is content. I think FACTS are quite visible. they just don't want to see it. as I have said for them is OK when Apple steals features from android, not ok when happens the other way. but hey I'm soo digging the crushing features on iOS6 that make Siri a crushing application.. I mean that thing can think of its own now.....

108. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

To those who keep saying that Android copied... Please take a look at iOS 6, 6 major functions copied from Android. Case closed. Android or Apple copied, who cares. My question right now is... what about Silvia for Android... Dead before arrival?

107. DOGIEFRESH

Posts: 316; Member since: Jul 15, 2009

We see in again and again, APPLE creates Google follows..........!!!!!

122. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

iOS 6 =Android 1.6. How do you feel that it took Apple 5 years to play catch up?

68. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

when Siri came out last year the fandroids had the audacity to say that Google voice was at Siri level that Siri was just a gimmick.. now on the SGSIII the have been promoting S-voice.. and now this.. for a gimmick I will say it got Android's attention..

69. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

its still a gimmick and Android Voice Actions work quite well. It may not have personality but it works.

70. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

of course Google voice works.. but is the minor leagues. compare to the beta Siri.. don't kid yourself Remix..

75. parkwaydr

Posts: 572; Member since: Sep 07, 2011

Apple had nothing to do with the creation of siri. Dont kid yourself chicken head.

78. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i dont have to kid myself. Unlike most iOS users, i still use voice actions regularly after the first few days of having it. lol. the proof is in the longevity. Siri's canned jokes dont beat actual functionality.

79. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

All siri does is feed your question to Wolfram Alpha, and use text to speech to read what it returns. Except in cases where Apple doesn't like the actual answers, then it gets a canned response. It's what Android has been working on for years, with Majel. Apple knew this, bought up Siri, rushed it out in half-baked beta (Gee, I thought only Android released beta, Apple only released finished product), so they could claim Android was copying them. It was well known thus was what Androids plans were, and Apple, as always knowing they can't compete with the pace of innovation against a more open ecosystem (just like with PCs and Microsoft), took.a shortcut to set up legal actions. Litigate, not inovate.

80. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

love the backpedaling saying that Siri is worthless when even the all mighty SGSIII used it as on of its selling points.. but whatever..fandroids.. the facts are there..

91. GENARAL-LEVY

Posts: 34; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

It never existed on 3gs. So whose copying who.

92. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It's worthless on the SGSIII, too. It's a novelty. Apple can't even think of anything useful to show it doing in commercials.

95. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

so Samsung used the siri like S-voice as a selling point for their flagship device and you still think is worthless....hmmm this is were your opinion goes one way and facts goes another..

104. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

How is that? I don't set Samsungs advertising campaigns up. I just know I would feel silly conversing with my phone. But, that's only me. Others may think its the bee's knees. That's up to them. I'm probably getting the SGSIII, only because I want to keep my unlimited plan with Verizon and the RAZR HD won't be out in time. I will most likely just disable s-voice. I have literally no use for it. Now I think the new feature that checks if you're looking and keeps the screen on, thats innovation worth having (assuming it works right).

105. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

I use Siri all the time and it is useful. I'm sure you'll be backpedaling once android releases it's knock off version

116. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

the top 2 phone sellers in the U.S beg to differ.. let see who should we believe. a geek that knows nothing about marketing or phone makers bringing top dollar... hmmm...

83. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You've got it backwards. Majel has been under development for years. It was named Majel after Majel Roddenberry, who besides being Gene Roddenberry's wife and Nurse Chapel in the original series, was the voice of the interactive computer on the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Because that was google's aim, to make an interactive voice system like the computers on Star Trek. So, this got Apple's attention. In order to beat Android to market, they bought Siri, integrated it half assed into iOS, then released it in a buggy beta state. See, apple knew what Android was working on, copied it, and claimed it as their own innovation. Then, will try to sue the folks who came up with the idea originally.

89. Hemlocke unregistered

Links? The fact is, there are none. Siri was debuted before Majel ever went into development (That is why it is termed "Google's response to Siri"), and Siri was an app on the iPhone a year before it ever debuted as an integrated service. As for functionality, Voice Actions, and every other voice program on Android and Windows Phone, is a toy compared to the iOS 5 functionality of Siri, and a joke compared to the iOS 6 version.

94. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I don't know about the reason behind the name, but the earliest reports clearly stated Majel had been in development for three years. That was only a couple of months after Siri came out. That means Majel predated Siri's introduction as an app. Considering Google's work on projects like Glass, do you really think they wouldn't also be working on AI?

112. Hemlocke unregistered

The Google X project is an AI project that has existed for a few years (but after Siri was initially developed, which was long before it debuted as an app), but in no way was it aimed at being a smartphone personal assistant. Branching out to the voice-activated PA was only a response to Siri, and I'm sure it will be good, but until we see it, it is all speculation.

90. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

if Apple gets something that already existed and makes it better then it is innovation.. just because they didnt invent the wheel doesnt mean never flat tires are not innovation..

93. AlexYouOC

Posts: 53; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

"if Apple gets something that already existed and makes it better then it is innovation....." Hmmmm..... If memory serves me correct I think that even Woz himself admitted that Siri went downhill after Apple bought it. Maybe Woz doesnt know what he's talking about either -__-

96. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

well don't know were you are going with this. but lets put it in simple terms for the Android users here.... Siri is innovation as it was marketed as a digital assistant.. call it a gimmick, a worthless app. whatever you want. but the way it was marketed was a success so big that Samsung (surprise surprise) is not marketing the siri like S-Voice... and now we have this article.. "WSJ: Google speeding up development of Siri-type personal assistant for Android" members of the jury I rest my case.. follow me on tweeter and FB

102. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

And, again, Majel has been in the pipeline for years. Google were talking about it, and its eventual integration into google tv, so you could speak commands to your phone to change channels, etc..prior to siri. And, its a natural extension of the voice commands that most platforms had for some time. I had voice commands on my old WinMo 6 phone. I could tell it, "text Mike," then dictate the text message. It's obvious. Even in 1969 they predicted it in Star Trek. The reason Siri is so poorly implemented in iOS 5 is it was rushed out as beta, because Apple knew Android was working on Majel. I don't claim its not innovation. It's Nuance's innovation, not Apple's. It's just a shame that Apple had to dumb it down, and artificially keep it from some users. Especially those users who had it prior to the 4s, who then had it yanked from their phones.

114. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Again title of the article: WSJ: Google speeding up development of Siri-type personal assistant for Android

117. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

ted please you even stated is your opinion about Siri....most people like it.. period.. and about Apple releasing the beta version to beat Android..hmmm Android has been puting beta app and features to beat other to the punch... how does it feel to be on the receiving end for a change... I dont even know why fandroids are even fighting this.. Siri is sucessfull wether you like it or not.. Samsung has the Siri like S-voice and now Android wants it... just admit defeat on this topic..

52. miggymini

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

"Google's own Voice Actions also does some of things that Siri does" PhoneArena I'm sure you miss spoke and meant the other way around. You know being that Voice Actions has been out since Droid One. Let's not rewrite history here.

43. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Apple is setting the bar again and the rest follow. S voice, Majel etc. Tim Cook said "Apple doesn't want to be the innovator for the world" I agree Tim. Why can't these companies come up with something original?

48. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Then they innovate for who? Martians?

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