Google Siri rival Majel beaming up?

Google is reported to be using a nifty Star Trek in-joke as a codename for a Siri competitor, known as Majel.

Computer? Computer! Google is reported to be using a nifty Star Trek in-joke as a codename for a Siri competitor, known as Majel.

According to Android and Me, Google is working on souping up its voice-control system for Android phones to match Apple's more sophisticated Siri , found on the new iPhone 4S .

Siri goes beyond the simple voice commands currently included in Android, like placing a call. Instead it acts as a virtual personal assistant, figuring out what you want and running searches or pulling up relevant information, and even making pithy quips.

Unfortunately Siri only presently works to its full capacity in the US, where it can search your local area for services or the things you want to find. Over here, local search isn't yet built in so you have to search the web yourself. And Siri is still only available on the iPhone 4S, so it's not an option for iPad, iPhone 4 and iPod users. If Google can get Majel out of the lab and on to phones before Siri sorts itself out, it'll be a major coup for the Big G.

And the name? Majel, as any Trekkie knows, is the name of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the voice of the computer in several incarnations of Star Trek. She was also married to the show's creator Gene Roddenberry, played Nurse Chapel in the original series, and Counsellor Troi's overbearing mother in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Google isn't the only web giant hoping to challenge Siri: Amazon recently bought voice service Yap and Microsoft reckons it could totally make a similar feature if it wanted to .

To see how Siri fares against its current rivals, we pitched the iPhone 4S in head-to-head boardroom battle with Vlingo on the Samsung Galaxy S2 . Which phone was hired and which was fired? Check out the video to find out.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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