Google’s answer to Siri, which was rumored to be “coming soon” and named “Majel,” is neither of those. A new report indicates that Google is working on an implementation of a voice assistant, called simply “Assistant,” targeting Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean) for the release.
We’ve long believed that the only way to create an effective Android answer to Siri would be if it was integrated with the OS and created by Google. There’s just no way to create such fine interaction with the device, otherwise. Thus, this development isn’t unexpected.
The report says that “unlike Apple with Siri, Google is planning on extending this service to developers so they can build novel things.” That’s true for now, but we really don’t believe that Apple will keep developers away from Siri integration forever.
Google’s plans for Assistant:
- Get the world’s knowledge into a format a computer can understand.
- Create a personalization layer — Experiments like Google +1 and Google+ are Google’s way of gathering data on precisely how people interact with content.
- Build a mobile, voice-centered “Do engine” (‘Assistant’) that’s less about returning search results and more about accomplishing real-life goals.
The plan is to have “Assistant” out by Q4 2012, but that will put it a year behind Siri. Of course, Android was more than a year behind iOS, as well, and look how that turned out (with the exception of tablets).
We’ll see how this all shakes out, but Google has had Mike Cohen, co-founder of Nuance, in-house for some time.