With an abundance of Android developers creating Siri clones, replicas, replacements, competition, etc. you may have had your fill of personal assistants. Three that we have written about include Cluzee, Iris and Speaktoit. Well Google has been working on a secret project in response to Apple’s Siri. Codenamed Majel, this project looks to bring an evolved version of Google’s Voice Actions, as seen on most Android phones. For those that don’t get the reference, Majel is named after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry aka the Federation Computer voice from Star Trek.
Voice actions required you to use specific commands such as “send text to…” or “navigate to…” where, like Siri, Majel will allow actions to be performed in your natural language. Google search queries will also be included with the initial release, which could come this year. It is suggested that the release is slated for this year because the folks over at Android and Me heard that Google X engineers are working around the clock to finish the first release. The also heard that the folks at the New York Times previously had reported that a product would be released by Google X this year. As you know, December is about half way over so that may not happen but controlling phone actions and applications with natural language commands is expected to come later.
In an interview with Google’s Matias Duarte by Slashgear hints were dropped about the future of Android’s Voice actions. Matias was quoted to say:
“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.”
Even with the “it’s just Computer” approach you can expect greatly enhanced voices that sound more fluid and human. This is thanks in part to Google’s Phonetic Arts acquistion at the end of 2010.
There aren’t any details yet but they will eventually surface. I am pretty excited about this and look forward to using it. What do you guys think? Is this pretty cool or no?
[via Android and Me]