Following the Google Assistant reveal at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Samsung announced Wednesday its acquisition of Viv Labs, makers of the Viv smart assistant led by the Siri co-creator Dag Kittlaus. Samsung’s own voice assistant, S Voice, has been a failure in terms of consumer usage.
“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” Injong Rhee, chief technology officer for Samsung’s mobile communications business, said in a statement.
Contrary to popular opinion, Siri was not developed by Apple. It started out as an independent third party program that Apple later bought. One of its co-creators, Kittlaus, then started his own company and tried to develop the perfect voice assistant.
Kittlaus told Techcrunch Viv will not be exclusively locked with Samsung and remain open to developers.
Viv Labs has built an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that provides third-party developers the power to build and use the conversational assistant. It uses advanced natural language processing, allowing it to understand and make sense of regular spoken English. Samsung says it will be smarter than the existing voice assistants.
There are many voice assistants available from different brands, such as Siri, Cortana and the recently launched Google Assistant. Yet, these AI bots are still some years away from replacing humans. One of the biggest challenges facing voice assistants is understanding complex queries, made up of different phrases and conditions.
Viv will be integrated throughout Samsung's ecosystem, including home appliances, wearables and other devices.
“Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day,” according to its official website.