Google preparing a Siri rival code named ‘Majel?’


14 Dec 2011

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Siri on the iPhone 4S

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Google will reportedly launch a Siri rival – code named ‘Majel’ – which will evolve its Voice Actions now on Android phones.

Android and Me reports that Majel, named after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who provided the voice for the Federation Computer from Star Trek, will let people use natural language to ask requests, similar to Apple’s Siri.

This will be a step forward from Voice Actions, which requires very specific requests. The Majel service will reportedly include Google search queries at first.

The rumours come after Google chairman Eric Schmidt told a US Senate antitrust subcommittee that Siri poses a competitive threat to the search giant.

He described it as a significant development that demonstrates the innovations in search. While the comments were made to prove that Google is not anti-competitive, Siri has still attracted a lot of attention from the technology industry and from consumers.

Google recently acquired Clever Sense, which created the Alfred app which recommends restaurants, bars and coffee shops by learning the user’s preferences and locations. SearchEngineLand speculates this acquisition could help Google build its Siri rival, as both Siri and Alfred can improve in accuracy the more a person uses them.

Majel could be launched early next year.