Google's Answer to Siri - MajelGoogle may finally have a viable alternative to Siri: say hello to Majel. According to Android and Me. researchers at Google’s secret Google X lab have been working tirelessly to get the app out the door.
The Voice Actions of the FutureMajel will be the evolution of Google’s current voice actions, which couples powerful voice recognition technology with a few basic commands. Voice actions has never been able to process natural speech, however, requiring you instead to use a series of predetermined phrases. Majel will bridge that gap, bringing you control over your phone via your voice.
But Google isn’t going to stop there: like Siri, the company is apparently planning to be able to give recommendations. While Siri uses Yelp data to figure out what is good nearby, Google just bought a company called Clever Sense, which creates personalized recommendations based on your favorite nearby restaurants and place. When you couple that with Google’s purchase of Zagat, you get voice actions that can take natural speech and give you back a recommendation.
As Always, a Hint of HumorGoogle tends to use inside references in their products. Google Wave, for example, was based on cult TV show Firefly. Majel is similarly referential. The name is based on Majel Barrett-Rodenberry, wife of Gene Rodenberry, creator of Star Trek. She also voiced the computer in the original series.
This lends well to Google’s take on voice recognition, which is pervasive and transparent. Unlike Siri, which Apple explicitly gave a bit of attitude, Majel is meant to be throught of as part of the device rather than an assistant. As said Mattias Duarte, Director of Android Operating System User Experience, back in March “...everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just 'Computer.'”