No denying the fact that Apple’s Siri is a runaway success, and also the key feature in the iPhone 4S that helped the device to surpass expectations when it was released in late 2011. Siri, which is not considerably better than most voice recognition software when it comes to returning results, is mostly known for its human-like interaction and fun to use. Google is well aware of the threat Siri could cause, and is hard at work on releasing a competing product known as “Assistant.”
Not much is known about Google Assistant (codename Majel?), but what we do know is that Google is setting it up to go beyond what Siri is capable of in its current form. Obviously, it will have a lot of Siri’s features, but what will set it apart from Apple’s love child? According to sources that spoke to TechCrunch, the Assistant won’t just be a tool to retrieve information and send it back to the user, but it should be able to help users with their goals (whatever that means.)
When Assistant comes out in Q4 of 2012, it will be able to tap into Gmail, Google Search, and Google +1 for information. Since Google is top dog in search, expect Assistant to go one up against Siri when it comes down to bringing back relevant information according to your query.
Android developers who would like to have Assistant apart of their own offerings, should be jumping with joy right now. Google plans to release key APIs to aid developers in this task. So while Siri will be exclusive to Apple, Google is opening Assistant to its developer base, a move that should see the adoption of Assistant grow at a fast pace.
There are three key parts of Google Assistant:
• Get the world’s knowledge into a format a computer can understand. • Create a personalization layer — Experiments like Google +1 and Google+ are Google’s way of gathering data on precisely how people interact with content. • Build a mobile, voice-centered “Do engine” (‘Assistant’) that’s less about returning search results and more about accomplishing real-life goals.
With all the above mentioned, is the Google Assistant up to the task of taking on Siri for the voice recognition crown? We think it has a good chance. Siri is good mainly because of how fun it is to use and its human interaction that removes the feeling of talking to a lifeless robot. Results are good, but where it falls short is in how long it takes to retrieve and push results to the user.
Google’s Assistant should take advantage of Siri’s weaknesses if it wants any chance of succeeding. Then again, the release date for this thing is set for Q4 2012, and by then Apple should fix a lot of the problems that plague Siri. Still, it is enough time for Google to take its time and create a compelling product worth using.
(Reported by Vamien McKalin, Edited by Surojit Chatterjee)