Android and Me reports on a secret Google project aimed at adding a little conversational flare to Android Voice Actions. Dubbed Project Majel after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry – the voice of Star Trek‘s Federation Computer – it’s thought to be motivated by the success Apple’s seen with its clever marketing of the voice-controlled digital assistant Siri that debuted as an iPhone 4S exclusive on October 4.
According to the blog:
Majel is an evolution of Google’s Voice Actions that is currently available on most Android phones with the addition of natural language processing. Where Voice Actions required you to issue specific commands like ‘send text to…’ or ‘navigate to…’ Majel will allow you to perform actions in your natural language similar to how Siri functions.
Google is apparently working on Majel at clandestine Google X, the company’s top-secret lab headed by Sergey Brin. Majel should debut for Google search queries first. It’s unknown at this stage whether the technology incorporates some of the artificial intelligence traits exhibited in Apple’s Siri.
It’ll be also interesting seeing whether Google is planning on taking Majel to third-party content providers and application developers, which could bring sophisticated voice commands to Android apps and let Majel seek answers on external services such as Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. Whichever the case, Android already has a strong set of voice-activated features so Project Majel should be seen as an improvement aimed at bridging the gap between Android Voice Actions and AI-driven Siri which stems from over 40 years of military research funded by DARPA via SRI International’s Artificial Intelligence Center through the Personalized Assistant that Learns Program and Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes Program initiative.
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