In December, it was reported that Google is working on a solution that will boost the capabilities of its Voice Actions on Android-powered devices in an effort to compete with Apple’s Siri voice assistant. The service, which was previously code-named “Majel,” will launch as “Assistant” according to a report from TechCrunch. Google intends its Assistant service to go beyond Siri’s functionality, and the software giant will maintain complete control of all the layers involved. According to the website’s sources, Assistant is being created by the Android team and has three goals: to put the world’s knowledge into a format a computer can understand, to create a personalization layer and to build a mobile, voice-controlled “do engine” that will help users accomplishing real-life goals. Unlike Apple, Google reportedly intends to make the service available to developers in an effort to broaden its functionality. The service will reportedly be unveiled in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Apple’s first television advertisement for the iPhone 4S began airing on Thursday and it bills the new smartphone as Apple’s most amazing iPhone yet. Titled simply “Assistant,” the ad places Apple’s new virtual personal assistant Siri front and center as it rapidly passes through a montage of iPhone 4S owners calling on Siri for help. One man asks Siri how to tie a bow tie, while a concerned woman asks for the fastest route to Hartford Hospital. A businessman asks Siri to reschedule his meeting and a young girl asks what a weasel looks like. The commercial runs through a dozen scenarios where Siri comes in handy, wrapping things up with a woman who locked herself out of her home. The woman simply states, “I’m locked out,” and Siri quickly uses her GPS location and a web search to replies with “I found 3 locksmiths fairly close to you.” Siri is the gift that keeps on giving, of course, and this is the first of many ads we’ll see touting the iPhone 4S’ most compelling new feature. A video of Apple’s Assistant spot follows below.
As rumored, Apple just took the wraps off the fruits of its Siri acquisition and it’s called… “Siri.” The feature enables you to interact with your device much as you would with a human assistant; you can speak to your phone naturally and it will perform as a personal assistant. Apple demonstrated different voice tasks during its press conference on Tuesday, such as asking what the weather is like today, or do I need a raincoat today? More voice tasks? Wake me up at 6AM tomorrow and Siri will set your phone alarm. What’s the time in Paris? How’s the stock market doing today? Find me an italian restaurant in New York? Give me directions to a location? Siri will even read your text and email messages to you. Siri will become available to the public when iOS 5 launches on October 12th.