October 22, 2016

GOOG: 799.37

2.40

With the release of Google Assistant, supplanting Google Now on the new Pixel with Android 7.1, Google’s speech recognition/AI engine is supposed to be more personable and less robotic. At the same time, Apple has been improving the accuracy and intelligence of Siri, which has until now been a distant second in the assistant space when it comes to accuracy. With the below video comparing iPhone 7 Plus and the the Pixel XL, YouTuber MKBHD shows that both have come a long way… expand full story

October 5, 2016

GOOG: 776.47

0.04

Over the last year, the artificial intelligence assistant “Viv” has garnered a lot of attention. Viv was cofounded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, the original creaters of Siri, and has been billed as a more powerful and more capable personal assistant than Siri. Now, TechCrunch reports that Samsung has acquired Viv and plans to implement it into its devices.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

September 9, 2015

GOOG: 612.72

-1.94

Leading up to Apple’s “Hey Siri”-themed press event today, Siri has been giving out a lot of unhelpful announcement hints to users who say “Hey Siri, give me a hint”. One of these was a binary code, which when decoded only revealed the word “Gotcha”. It goes without saying that if you want some real hints about what Apple’s going to announce, all you need to do is to read Mark’s roundup.

But Sony, the company that just last week unveiled the world’s first 4K smartphone, the Xperia Z5 Premium, has taken to Twitter to taunt the Cupertino-based company. Also using the familiar binary, Sony wrote “01000111 01100001 01101101 01100101 00100000 01101111 01101110 00101110”. Converted to text? That’s “Game on.” expand full story

9to5mac 

November 11, 2014

youtube-cropped

A few months back, YouTube launched its own weekly radio show on SiriusXM and today the Google-owned video sharing company announced a follow up program that will start airing on November 21st. Furthering its partnership with the satellite radio heavyweight, YouTube EDM 15 will run on BPM, the broadcasting outfit’s electronic dance channel.

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October 8, 2014

Google Now tops Siri and Cortana in a 3,000+ question challenge (video)

Google Now, Siri and Cortana all have their respective followings, but which application is the best at answering real world questions? Recently, the folks at Stone Temple Consulting pit the three platforms each other in a 3,086 query challenge packed with questions that required direct answers.

June 26, 2014

YouTube-for-Android

YouTube may be in the process of starting its own music service, however the Google-owned company will soon be making the jump to radio as well. Yep, you read that correctly. Earlier today, Mountain View’s video streaming platform announced that it has made a deal with SiriusXM that will bring tracks from some of its featured up-and-coming recording artist to a weekly show aptly named YouTube 15.

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9to5toys 

December 18, 2013

Update: TechCrunch reports that this video is fake.

Update #2: TechCrunch now reports the video is real and commissioned by Yahoo!, but not a real product yet.

With Yahoo’s acquisition of SkyPhrase, a natural language processing startup this month questions immediately arose as to how Yahoo would incorporate the technology. Now, thanks to a video on Daily Motion discovered by Android Police, we may have our answer as Yahoo prepares a Google Now/Siri voice-controlled personal assistant.

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June 11, 2013

Microsoft must be pretty happy with Apple’s decision to include Bing as the default search engine powered web results in Apple’s revamped Siri application heading to iOS 7 this fall. However, what does this all mean for Google? It could very well signal Apple’s increasing desire to cut its reliance on services powered by its biggest competitor in the smartphone space.

Before iOS 7, searching for something with Siri would often turn up the option to search for web results. Doing so would give you results through Safari using your default search engine (which by default is set to Google). Now, in iOS 7, web results will be displayed right in the Siri app, however, they will be powered by Microsoft’s Bing– and not Google.  expand full story

May 8, 2013

What does Samsung’s S-Voice assistant think of Siri?

Despite having access to a pretty powerful voice-enabled, predictive search engine with Google Now, Samsung is still pushing ahead with its own ‘S Voice’ app to try and provide a unique Siri-like experience on its devices. We’ve seen many comparisons of how Samsung might have borrowed from Apple for its own voice-controlled assistant, but today a post from AndroidCentral got us curious about how S Voice reacts when asked about Siri.

The screenshot we grabbed above speaks for itself with the Galaxy S4 returning snappy answers when asked about the iPhone and Siri. When asked, “Have you ever used an iPhone?,” S Voice responded, simply, “No, I have standards.” Another question, “Are you Siri?,” returns the answer, “I think that I am, but I’m a little biased.”

Results appear to vary for users, but it’s certainly an easter egg that Samsung has intentionally included in the app at some point. Siri isn’t free of its own clever responses with users finding several easter eggs and controversial remarks since the app first launched on iPhone 4S. Asking Siri about Samsung or its devices, however, usually just provides a vague response or directs users to Apple’s website or the web.

Some answers Siri gives are amusing, such as responding to marriage questions with “My End User License Agreement does not cover marriage”. People are more amused by the silly stuff, like when you say “call me an ambulance” and she responds by acknowledging “From now on, I’ll call you ‘an ambulance’”.

electrek 

April 17, 2013

Amazon reportedly acquires Evi, the Siri-like Android/iPhone voice assistant app

According to TechCrunch, Amazon has acquired Evi, a Siri-like voice assistant application currently available for both iOS and Android. While the application remains available on both platforms, the report seems to have significant evidence to back up its acquisition claims:

At UK Companies House all the Evi Technologies Ltd directors have been replaced by Amazon’s UK legal representative, and this is confirmed by the Octopus Ventures annual report. The annualreports of all Octopus Ventuers’ funds allrefer to the disposing of their shares in Evi Technologies.

Companies House records show all directors at Evi have beed replaced and loans paid off, while a small loss of £19,000 was recognised.

The new Company Secretary for Evi Technologies is also Amazon’s: Mitre Secretaries Ltd are the corporate secretary for Amazon.co.uk (and Amazon’s London software development company).

As seen in the video above, Consumer reports created a video showing the differences between Apple’s Siri and Evi. In early 2012, Apple threatened to remove Evi from the App Store because of similarities to Siri, but the application seems to have stayed inside of the App Store’s bounds since then.

Cross posted on 9to5Mac.com

November 15, 2012

Popular Science names Google Now ‘Innovation Of The Year’, calls Siri outdated

Popular Science has given Google Now its “Innovation Of The Year” award:

Voice interfaces like Siri seem outdated by comparison. With Google Now, you don’t pull the phone out when an idea occurs to you. You pull it out when an idea occurs to it.

[PopSci]

November 5, 2012

9to5mac 

June 29, 2012

Siri vs Google search in 1600-question street test

As noted by Phillip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune, Apple analyst Gene Munster published a note to clients today that contained the results of a Siri vs. Google search 1600-question showdown.

While it is not exactly a test of how well the companies’ various voice services stack up against one another (since Google Search queries were typed-in and not spoken), but it is a good indication of just how viable Siri is as an everyday mobile search product and alternative to Google. In the test, both Google and Siri were asked 800 questions in a quiet location. Another 800 questions were asked among the loud street traffic in Minneapolis. The results, according to Fortune:

June 27, 2012

June 19, 2012

We heard several reports in the past that Google was working on various evolutions of its Voice Actions platform for Android. We heard of “Project Majel” in December, which, according to reports, is the codename for a new voice-controlled assistant app similar to Siri. In March, TechCrunch reported on a similar project dubbed “Google Assistant.” According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is accelerating its plans to launch a competitor to Apple’s Siri:

Google, meanwhile, has accelerated plans to launch its own Siri competitor that would work on Android-powered devices, people familiar with the matter have said.

The report does not offer any additional details on the project, but it noted: “In coming weeks, Google is expected to unveil a lower-priced Android tablet that it developed with Asustek Computer.” Google recently acquired Clever Sense, the makers of popular local recommendations app Alfred, and some have speculated the technology could be included in Google Siri competitor. Many expect the Google tablet, mentioned by WSJ, to unveil later this month at Google I/O, where we could also possibly see some of Jelly Bean and this rumored assistant feature.

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9to5toys 

May 3, 2012

Galaxy S III debuts Siri-like function ‘S-Voice’

Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy S III in London, and the new smartphone boasted a ton of new features, such as “S-Voice.” The built-in feature is Samsung’s equivalent of Siri, but it does much more than Apple’s offering. It manages certain functions and is customizable with up to four wake-up commands. For example, set it to respond with the phrase “Wake up,” and it will automatically unlock the smartphone’s screen. The voice-control tech is also integrated with applications, such as the camera app. Just say, “Hi! Galaxy, picture,” and then say “Cheese.” Walah!—The picture is captured.  Oh, and S-Voice can even control music.

March 16, 2012

The last we heard, Apple was working with developers of Siri alternatives such as True Knowledge, the developers behind “Evi,” to iron out similarities between the app and the iPhone 4S‘s flagship feature. Apple is quick to warn developers who are submitting Siri-like apps not to mimic native features of the OS. Apple wants an app’s features to remain “distinctly different from the iOS behaviors and interfaces to avoid causing user confusion.” Developer Sparkling Apps reached out to let us know Apple rejected its latest app submission called “Voice Answer,” with Apple telling the developer the Wolfram Alpha-powered alternative is “too similar to Siri.” The good news for Android users is the developers have decided to release an Android-only version on available Google Play now.

Apple is not flat-out rejecting all Siri alternatives/competitors. Sparkling Apps already has an app called “Voice Ask” on the App Store that sits in the top charts of the Reference category. Evi remains on the App Store as well. However, the Voice Ask app employs the same True Knowledge database as Evi. While Apple did not offer a specific reason for why the app was rejected, it is possible that Apple is more inclined to reject Siri-like apps using Siri’s Wolfram Alpha knowledge base. Unsurprisingly, the developers instead decided to release Voice Answer as an Android-only app on Google Play.

The app provides spoken answers, optional keyboard input, and configurable items stored in the app’s memory. According to the developer, Voice Answer’s “speech recognition works better than that of Siri, especially with foreign accents,” and the app includes a chatbot called “Eve” that you can teach answers. While most of these features are also baked into Evi, it is unclear exactly why Apple is working with some developers to coexist peacefully with Siri, and then flat-out rejecting others without discussion. Fortunately, the app did not have any issues making its way onto Google Play, and it is even marketed as the “Voice Answer- just like Siri.” We told you in January about the number of Siri clones hitting the market with the release of Evi for Android. The Voice Answer Android app is now available on Google Play for $3.99, and the developers promised that support for messaging and email is on the way.

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February 27, 2012

Handset maker Motorola Mobility may have found itself in an uneasy place as both Microsoft and Apple are attempting to block its $12.billion sale to Google, but the company’s marketing department is as vigorous as ever. With this week’s spotlight on the latest mobile developments showcased at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, the Razr-maker published three provocative clips on its YouTube channel.

The videos pit the iPhone 4S-exclusive Siri feature against Android Voice Actions running on three different handsets: The Atrix 2, Photon 4G and Electrify. In each instance, Siri runs notably slower (and therefore less useful) than Android Voice Actions on Motorola’s devices.

Both Android Voice Actions and Siri need a network connection to upload audio samples of spoken queries. The cloud does the rest–speech recognition, parsing your query and beaming down the results. With that said, the performance gap that these clips highlight stems from the faster 4G networking on Motorola’s devices and has little to do with the type of processor, the amount of memory and other hardware features.

Two more clips are right below.

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electrek 

February 20, 2012

Google is on a roll these days in regards to interesting patent filings. The company filed a patent for Android’s pattern unlock feature in November, and a new filing suggests more unlocking methods with one involving voice recognition and the other based on a two-icon methodology. Today, Patently Apple pointed to another document the search company filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Sept. 29, 2011.

Being made public only recently, it describes methods and apparatus for a Google TV remote that lets you search for televisions shows, movies, music and other media simply by asking. This sounds a lot like Apple’s Siri voice assistant the rumor-mill speculates could enhance an alleged Apple-branded HD TV set.

The difference, per the publication:

Apple has had a similar feature under Remote for several years now, but it doesn’t relate to live TV as Google’s will. Google’s real competitor on this particular front will come from Samsung who just announced their latest TV remote with voice controls and a touch pad. The race to bring the best next generation TV Remote to market is officially on.

One embodiment of the invention describes a situation where a user searches for the popular sitcom “Seinfeld” simply by asking their Android phone, “When is Seinfeld on?” The phone would parse and send the query up to the Google cloud, beaming down the results to your Google TV set-top box.

GPS positioning could enhance the scope of the invention in interesting ways:

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January 24, 2012

Samsung kick started its anti-Apple Galaxy S II campaign with a November 2011 advert that enraged people who would wait in line for a new iPhone. A follow-up commercial downplayed Apple’s iCloud and iTunes Match services as the campaign continued on Facebook. Earlier this week, Samsung shifted gear with an advert that lambasted Apple’s iPhone over its lack of stock turn-by-turn navigation software akin to Google Maps with Navigation for Android.

Today, the South Korean consumer electronics conglomerate aired another commercial following the “Samsunged” theme and focusing on the barista character featured in the November 2011 commercial. More precisely, it mocks the barista’s latte-making art. Samsung reserved an ad slot during Super Bowl XLVI, therefore, things should get interesting come Feb. 5. Let us know in the comments how you liked the new commercial.

Another advert pitting Android’s speech-to-text capabilities against Apple’s is right after the break.

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