When Apple released the iPhone 4S to the world, it was more than a new iPhone – it brought with it a new way of interacting with technology. That new way was the first real way of talking to a piece of software using natural language. Yes we have had voice commands before, but software was listening for very specific words and a very specific syntax. Siri changed that.
Even though still technically in beta and not exactly fully functional yet, Siri lit a fire under the engineers at Google. Nobody likes to be beaten by the competition, but when it comes to voice interaction, Apple’s engineers certainly came out on top, even if they did get a little help from the purchase of Siri.
All that may be set to change as early as the first quarter of 2012, though, as it would appear that Google is hard at work trying to recreate the Siri magic for its own Android devices, and they mean business.
Reports are suggesting that Google’s engineers are working tirelessly to get something out the door this year, though with two weeks to go that is increasingly unlikely. An early-2012 release is not out of the question though.
The project that Google is working in goes by the name of Majel, which for those that are not into their Star Trek trivia is named after the late Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. Majel was the voice actress for the computer in Star Trek Generations and beyond, which gives Google’s efforts a lot of geek cred, even if it never makes it to market!
Attempts by third parties to replicate Siri on Android have so far been woeful, but none of those have either the money or the team of engineers at Google’s disposal. Given they have some of the best brains in the business all under one roof, we’re not going to be daft enough to suggest they won’t manage to pull a Siri-like competitor out of the bag in the next few months.
In all honesty, we hope they do. We’ve said it before and we will continue to until someone listens – competition is vital, and anything that pushed Apple to improve Siri is OK by us!
Bring it on!