In October, Apple released the iPhone 4S and highlighted the Siri Voice Assistant as one of the main features of the new phone, allowing users to dictate messages, emails, and even search the web and make calls simply by speaking to the phone. With Siri already leading the Voice recogniton technology in mobile phones, other companies are bound to follow with their own version of a personal voice assistant.
On Wednesday, a new report from AndroidandMe suggested that Google is stepping up their efforts to create their own Siri rival, and integrate into their Android OS software. The report also mentioned a secret project codenamed Majel, adding natural language processing to Google’s OS and allowing the phones to work as naturally as Siri. In an interview with Slashgear, Matias Duarte, Google’s Director of Android OS User Experience, suggested that Google is not looking to copy Siri and will not be using the same “attitude” as Apple’s already popular assistant.
The metaphor I like to take is – if it’s Star Wars, you have these robot personalities like C-3PO who runs around and he tries to do stuff for you, messes up and makes jokes, he’s kind of a comic relief guy. Our approach is more like Star Trek, right, starship Enterprise; every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just “Computer.” And you can talk to it and you can touch it, you can interact with it at the same time as you talk with it. It’s just another way to interface with the computer.
The code name Majel is named after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry the voice of the Federation Computer from Star Trek. Google appears to be leading up with their own assistant in an effort to use the assistant “Majel” as a marketing tactic to bring back the competition between Apple and Google, which has become stale since the introduction of the iPhone 4S. With Marjel, Google could claim that they allow their Voice Assistant on all of their mobile phones, old and new, something that Apple currently restricts.