Google will put Majel on the line to rival Siri


( -- Majel is Google’s voice controlled assistant in the wings and it is poised to compete against Apple’s iPhone 4S-based Siri. The new chatter surrounding the yet to be launched Majel can be translated down to Watch out Siri: Android’s coming at you. While smartphone users generally agree that no smartphone voice assistant has yet to rival Siri--a technology with roots in a DARPA project with a history of research before Apple bought it in 2010 -- Siri is in for more serious competition.

Based on tips circulating this week, Android Voice Actions will be followed by a newcomer that will be further up in the voice recognition hierarchy and it's called Majel.

The site Android and Me has published a story that Majel will make its debut shortly. A better conversational experience will challenge that from . The key factor that has held Voice Actions back was a rigid verbal command syntax, say observers, whereas Siri ‘s AI capabilities have entertained as well as helped iPhone users.

According to reports, Majel will get natural language processing capabilities. End users will be able to speak to their phones Siri-like, using natural speech rather than having to think of ways to phrase their questions to make their phrase or sentence understood.

While Majel will be intelligent, it will not have Siri’s personality traits. Majel will not have much of any personality, say the tipsters. If Siri is a coy, sophisticated mate, Majel will be just a helpful voice assistant. Majel will make no effort to be “spunky” but will just “talk, listen and interpret,” says a report.

’s company purchases in 2010 and 2011 may have something to do with attempts to ensure Majel talks, listens and interprets extremely well. Smartphone users seeking useful information from a personal voice assistant are likely to find Majel up to the task.

The company acquired Phonetic Arts in 2010, a UK-based speech synthesis business. Google reportedly intends to use the technology to improve the sound of its automated voices. Also, Google recently acquired Clever Sense, the developer behind Alfred, a context-aware, curated recommendation engine. Alfred has proven its worth as a discovery engine that can make restaurant recommendations for users based on information gathered about the user’s tastes. Google also bought restaurant authorities Zagat in September, further bolstering its information trove.

Some say Majel could be released by the end of the month, while others assume an early 2012 launch to be more likely. What’s more, Android watchers point to Google’s June I/O event as a fitting time for the company not only to announce the next release of Android but also to announce that Majel is integrated into the platform too.

© 2011

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