Google's project Majel gets more interesting by the day
The Android faithful start getting excited as more new details come to light for Google's rebuttal to Siri.
Scott Webster has spent the better part of his adult life playing with cell phones and gadgets. When not looking for the latest Android news and rumors, he relaxes with his wife and son. Scott also is the senior editor for AndroidGuys. E-mail Scott.
Ask any honest Android fanboy what he envies about the iPhone 4S and chances are good that he or she will menton Siri. And since we're speaking honestly, I'll be the first to admit that this is one feature that I wish my Android could do.
Sure, there are plenty of apps vying for the "Android version of Siri," but none of them are as quite as well-rounded as the iOS app.
Thankfully, we should have an official client on the way as rumors of a "Majel" project began picking up steam this week. Factoring in the early details uncovered by Android And Me and one very recent acquisition, it appears that Google is wasting no time in bringing about a rebuttal.
In the few days since the first information came to light, Android And Me has obtained new tips that paint the picture of a fast-tracked project. One particularly interesting detail comes from a source who claims to have spent time with an early release.
Their tipster advises that it was "definitely as good, or better, than Siri" and that the version that he used was tablet-based. The source goes on to describe trays of results, which can be swiped away or selected based on what the user was looking for.
"Like, if you say 'show me the Statue of Liberty' it'll automatically take you to Google Image results, but another tray beneath it might be its location on Google Maps and then another tray might have a Wikipedia page. It's also pretty good at giving you succinct answers if you ask it a question. The UI is definitely more powerful than Siri's, even if a little harder to navigate. At least one phase of the development you would activate it by saying 'Computer...' It was hard not to use a Jean Luc Piccard accent when doing it!"
A second, anonymous Google employee indicates that over the last few years Google X's focus has been based around a supersmart AI robot that leverages the tech behind a number of popular Google programs. Described as being "the most amazing thing" he'd ever seen, the AI had passed the Turing Test 93 percent of the time over the course of an hour long IM-like conversation.
Based on what I'm reading here, I see a future of being able to talk with my phone in a casual manner for extended periods of time, and not with simple requests such as, "What is the weather forecast for San Diego tomorrow?"
Skip to around 5:13 in the video below to see exactly what type of questions Google expects to be able to handle in the future. I don't know about you, but this sounds like a more-than-viable alternative to Siri.