Google gets ‘Alfred’ but it’s certainly no Siri

“Siri, a voice-controlled virtual personal assistant that relies on artificial intelligence, is the most advertised feature of the new iPhone 4S from Apple,” Nigam Arora reports for Forbes. “Apple has done an excellent job at integrating Siri with other apps on the phone.”

“Google’s Android has been losing high-end business to Apple because of the popularity of Siri,” Arora reports. “Now, Google is taking its first step to battle Siri with Alfred. Google has acquired Clever Sense, the maker of Alfred.”

Arora reports, “However Google Android enthusiasts will have to wait for a while before Alfred can truly battle Siri. You cannot speak to Alfred like you can speak to Siri. Alfred does not speak back to you. You cannot ask Alfred about the weather like you can ask Siri. Alfred cannot help you with directions like Siri can. Of course the best feature of Siri is its tight integration with other applications such as the address book and calendar. In contrast, Alfred is an island.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Alfred can only sense text. That does’t seem very clever at all.

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  1. So much for “Siri? Bah! Android had stuff like that long before Apple did!”

    That false claim was exposed when a 3rd party started developing “Iris” (and they’re still far behind, so they sure didn’t duplicate Siri in only 8 hours like they first claimed), and exposed again with the news we’re getting from Google now.

    1. No third party effort can do what Siri does; the most important part of the “magic” is done on Apple’s servers. You can’t fit the knowledge base and AI processing needed for Siri on a mobile device. That why the best a third party can hope to accomplish is limited command-based voice recognition, and that already existed before Siri.

      A true competitor to Siri on Android must come from Google. And a true competitor to Siri on Windows Phone must come from Microsoft. And such efforts are years, not months, away. And Apple will not be marking time, waiting for them to catch up.

      1. Iris’ developers did reproduce the mobile server network interaction, and they tried a more limited AI, but it’s been continuous work and still nowhere near the capacity of Apple’s Siri servers (which still have issues keeping up, sometimes). And Iris is obviously nowhere near the integration and polish–hell, most Android phones don’t come with two of the required speech processing libraries so users must download and install it themselves.

        But on the whole I fully agree, a true competitor must come from the maker of the OS, it’s the only way to ensure a clean integration.

    1. They were caught flat footed by the Siri release and had to respond with something when they got asked the question. They chose to be dismissive so as not to hand AAPL any public kudos (and yet more free publicity for it).

      And they know they have to respond, eventually, with something similar in Android. They have to get something out the door so as to not surrender the field completely to AAPL.

          1. He also said iPod screens are too small for video, and then Apple released an even smaller iPod that played video. And he told would-be iPhone developers to create web-based apps, not native apps, then soon released the iPhone SDK and opened the App Store.

            But those things were done as “planned misdirection” to hide what Apple was doing in secret, so that the competition would be caught unprepared when the secret was revealed.

            What Google is doing now, and what Microsoft did when iPhone was released, is very different. It is damage control, in reaction to a move made by Apple that caught them unprepared. “It’s not a big deal,” as they throw money and resources at frantically copying Apple’s well-planned move.

  2. “Please can some body explain why Larry page and eric t mole said nobody wants to talk to their phones and now they are bringing this? Are they crazy or just $tupid?”
    Well, so far they’re staying consistent, because you can’t actually ‘talk’ to this app, only type text to it, and in what way is that any different to regular Google search?

  3. SayNow, Phonetic Arts and GrandCentral were all purchased for voice or speech technologies in the last 4 years by google. You could not pick out or recognize those company’s products in Android, Google Talk and other services today.

    They could use pieces of this company for a number of things.

    1. I had GrandCentral from before they were purchased by Google. For over a year, Google orphaned the original GC users, with no update on what was happening. Forums were left to die. Everyone figured it was dead, and finally GV was launched. As useful as some of Google’s stuff is, their customer support is pathetic. Totally unreliable, which is odd, because you’d think they’d be the exact opposite.

      1. I remember GrandCentral too. It seems like for whatever reason when Google “buys” a company, they just stop whatever products were there and leave the existing customer base hanging.

        Saw the same thing with their purchase of SageTV. They tore the site down, put up a “we’ve been bought by Google!” type message and that was the end. The existing users are getting no support. Its assumed that they purchased SageTV to use for a reboot of Google TV but that means nothing for people who purchased SageTV.

  4. Why do people think Siri is so good? My iPhone 4S Siri can’t understand a single sentence I speak. It is less than 5% accurate. Maybe it’s my Aussie accent. I even put on a Yankee accent but it still failed. I was so disappointed.

    1. Either you have the wrong settings for Siri or are lying because Siri works very well! I use Siri all the time for many varied uses and it almost never lets me down. Granted Siri isn’t perfect but I have been very impressed so far!

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