Google working feverishly on ‘Majel’ response to Apple’s Siri

“Google’s response to Apple’s Siri voice assistant… is codenamed Majel, which comes from Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, better known as the voice of the Federation Computer from Star Trek,” Taylor Wimberly reports for Android and Me.

“Majel is an evolution of Google’s Voice Actions that is currently available on most Android phones with the addition of natural language processing,” Wimberly reports. “Where Voice Actions required you to issue specific commands like ‘send text to…’ or ‘navigate to…,’ Majel will allow you to perform actions in your natural language similar to how Siri functions.”

Wimberly reports, “Speaking of actions, it sounds like only Google search queries will be included with the initial release, that could come as soon as this year. I say this year because I’ve heard that engineers at Google X are working around the clock on finishing the first release and the NYTimes previously reported that one product would be released by Google X this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This year? Puleeze.

Apple’s Siri “is a remarkable innovation that took two dozen of America’s greatest research institutions more than 40 years to develop,” CBS News reports. “The current version of Siri represents the first stage of a breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence… Siri’s technology represents decades of combined research on artificial intelligence from more than 20 universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale. It’s a spinoff of SRI’s Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO) project that was originally funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under its Perceptive Assistant that Learns (PAL) program.”

Good luck knocking off this one, Google.

“Majel” will be a marketing exercise designed to convince the great unwashed that a vastly inferior rush job is the same as what Apple offers. In the TV commercials, expect even more mindless computer graphics robots executing meaningless special effects for the sake of special effects, but talking this time.

71 Comments

        1. Actually, Majel was Microsoft’s codename for its natural language command-line technology (which the speech engine would have plugged into) back in 2000. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of that team is doing the same thing at Google now.

    1. “I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant. … Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.”

      Andy Rubin speak with forked tongue…

  1. Operative term – “similar” to how Siri functions. Whelp, if you can’t best Apple, may as well keep churning out drastically inferior products, right? If Siri is still considered to be “beta” then Google, the Kings of Perpetual Beta Products, should have a real gem on their hands with Majel. Hilarious that they are going after all the Trekkies and Trekkers with the voice of the Star Trek computer. Someone just take Google’s Majel and a rifle out to a pasture and get it over with now, save them the embarrassment later.

    1. If Google is REALLY going to compete with Siri, it will have to somehow accomplish that without advertisements. If they do it without advertisements, they will cutting their own throats, will they not?

  2. Copying Apple is the R&D function for the entire technology sector.

    It seems the courts are reluctant to strictly enforce Apple’s patents. Doing so would wipe out much of the company’s competition.

  3. SIri: “Not on my corner, bitch!”

    Majel: “Searching for ‘Nut on the corner itch'”

    Siri: “Oh no you di int!”

    Majel: “Searching ‘Own you dint'”

    Siri: “I’m very sorry I didn’t know you were a retard”

    Majel: “Searching ‘Google'”

  4. MDN is funny. Google has to have a response to siri, this is about technology and ecosystems. Google has voice text for years. Apple brought a company and brought a technology that has existed for years into consumer thinking, One thing apple does better than anyone else is bring technology to the masses. Apple bought siri brought it to the iphone and improved on voice controls. Google needs to improve in order to compete better. And You bet google will compete. And as a consumer bring it on. Google will only improve apple technology and vice versa. Soon we will all be walking around super computers in out pockets thanks to competition. Go google! Go Apple! because humans benefit.

    1. I’m sorry but it’s very apparent that Apple doesn’t need competition in order to strive for perfection. When someone steals your car who benefits? The thief or you? Google Android is stolen intellectual property from Apple’s iOS, and I don’t see anyone benefitting from a shoddy knock off. Go Apple! Screw Google! Because humans benefit.

      1. Yes idiot. Because icloud would exist without the excellent cloud offerings that google brought to android? And that awesome notification center would exist without android? That iphone is probably getting 4 inch screen due to the likes of samsung and HTC. That siri even happened on the iphone is because google and android manufactures touted android voice control feature. Apple would not be trying to build its own maps if it was not for google maps. Google is an incredible technology company. Apple and google have different ways of reaching consumers.
        Google: Put out a product as soon as we can, improve, improve, and improve, bleeding edge technology.
        examples: gmail, maps, google voice, google tv, nfc with google wallet, chrome, a lot of these products are not even close to being fully completed

        Apple: Dont release a product until its ready (siri breaks that trend, do you know why, they need to compete with google voice controls).
        But apple wont have nfc and lte until they think its close to perfect.

        Google and Apple both amazing companies. Google maps is extraordinay, chrome amazing, gmail wow.

        Ipad, Iphone, Ipod changed technology as we know it.

        Take off your colored glasses idiot. Your being pathetic.

        Likewise android would of never existed in its current form if it was not for the iphone.

        1. Um, you *do* realize that the iPhone had voice control long before Siri, right? And you may have possibly heard of MobileMe, formally .Mac, formally iTools? Apple has been playing “in the cloud” for a long time now as well.

          1. Mobileme was crap to android’s offering on logging in and every app shows up on you android phone and everything syncing at all times. Iphone’s voice controls was crap to androids speech to text, speech to pretty much do anything.

            Icloud is a response to google cloud and siri response to android speech actions. just like whatever google does with voice control from now on will be a response to siri. Its called competition. Im not a fanboy I see google and apple for what they are great companies in the business of making money.

        2. It seems like you genuinely believe that Google and Android in any actually influenced Apple in any meaningful way. Anyone who has even superficial knowledge about the way Steve Jobs used to operate (as well as how Apple operates) would know that this is simply not true.

          With the possible exception of the notification bar that closely resembles Android’s (and that could possibly mean that someone at Apple saw it and decided to improve upon it), everything else, and especially iCloud, was Apple’s own idea. Do not forget, iTools existed over ten years ago (way before G-mail, never mind all other Google offerings), and it was the fore-runner of the iCloud. In Jobs’s biography, it is clear that he had the vision of a cloud solution (as it is implemented today) before Google even existed.

          There is one thing being an Apple (or Android) fan. Then there’s facts. Let us not confuse the two.

          1. I can’t wait for the iphone to have a 4 inch screen and you blind fanboys will say. That had absolutely nothing to do with HTC or Samsung and android. Apple made its decision to increase screen size inside a vacuum.

            1. Didn’t Google’s Android phone in 2006 have more of a RIM Blackberry favoring with the top half the phone being screen and the bottom half being plastic buttons???…

              Then Google’s Schmidt is on Apple’s BoD and voila, Google’s phone project gets full screen…

              Imagine that!

            2. Your baseless attempt at argument is as devoid of intelligence as, err!. You should be able to figure it out, or maybe not.
              Never lets facts get in the way of a rant will you.

        3. Mind me as I tear you apart:

          “Because icloud would exist without the excellent cloud offerings that google brought to android?”

          Google’s cloud offerings suck. iCloud works differently and is excellent.

          “And that awesome notification center would exist without android? That iphone is probably getting 4 inch screen due to the likes of samsung and HTC.”

          You’re right. Apple’s iOS notification system is awesome. The issue here is chicken and egg material that gets squashed when you remember that Android is stolen IP theft from Apple. If Apple makes a 4″ iPhone screen, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because of Android. Apple has been known to improve things without intervention.

          “That siri even happened on the iphone is because google and android manufactures touted android voice control feature.”

          Apple once had a crappy voice control feature like Andoid.. The only thing different was that Apple (smartly) didn’t advertise it. Now Siri is around and it’s amazing. Nothing Google has comes close to it.

          “Google is an incredible technology company.”

          Who told you that? Interesting spin you got there.

          “Google: Put out a product as soon as we can, improve, improve, and improve, bleeding edge technology.
          examples: gmail, maps, google voice, google tv, nfc with google wallet, chrome, a lot of these products are not even close to being fully completed”

          i.e. Google puts out crappy software that doesn’t work right. (That you even mention the failure called GoogleTV in the list cracks me up.)

          “Apple: Dont release a product until its ready (siri breaks that trend, do you know why, they need to compete with google voice controls). But apple wont have nfc and lte until they think its close to perfect.”

          I agree that Apple (unlike Google) likes to sell things that are ready to sell. Google voice controls are NOT competitive to Siri. Siri is in beta because it needs user input to improve itself. Google is not why Siri is in beta.

          “Google and Apple both amazing companies. Google maps is extraordinay, chrome amazing, gmail wow. Ipad, Iphone, Ipod changed technology as we know it.”

          “Take off your colored glasses idiot. Your being pathetic.”

          The color of my glasses are reality. And you find reality pathetic. Understandable, because reality doesn’t bode well for Google fans such as yourself.

          “Likewise android would of never existed in its current form if it was not for the iphone.”

          Wow a true statement. How refreshing. We should put it up on a refrigerator magnet.

            1. Sealsan…sign of a weak mind when you rather name call that use FACTS in an argument.

              Sort of like our current elected conservative government members here in Canada when asked to comment….

      2. If Apple doesn’t need competition to improve their products, why have they not updated the iPod touch line with a 4S-like processor or Siri features? I’m pretty sure it’s because they have no legitimate competition in the MP3 player market. They seem to be pretty comfortable resting on their laurels in that market.

        1. Resting on their laurels, or keeping it affordable?

          $199 for an ultra-thin computer you keep in your pocket is an amazing deal. Email, Web, HD video recording, Games, Apps, and a super-long battery life for $200.

          I think Apple knows how to keep that product properly balanced.

          1. Exactly. If they put all the iPhone hardware in the iPod touch, the target market wouldn’t be able to afford it. Remember, the iPhone is only sold at the price it is because the carrier subsidizes it. Without the subsidy, the iPhone would cost over $600. Could you see any one paying that kind of cash for an iPod touch?

            ——RM

        2. Siri requires a network connection every time you use it. An iPod touch may or may not be on a wifi network at a given time, and Apple doesn’t want a “sometimes on” feature.

          Frankly, Siri on the 4S is already a bit “sometimes on” since it does not fall back to Voice Control when it data network is unavailable (for stuff that worked as early as the 3GS, e.g. call someone, play songs, etc). This would be much more of a problem on an iPod touch.

  5. … access to the same research Apple bought access to?
    I hope that’s the route they will take – building off the solid research of those who have gone before. We’ve had more than enough slap-dash copying from the boys in Redmond over the past couple of decades.

    1. Yes they can, the DARPA PAL components are available for licensing.

      That is the nice thing about technologies funded by tax payers, they tend to make their way into the private sector and can sometimes bring massive changes (example: the Internet).

      Google has bought 2 or 3 different companies in the last 4 years that deal with language processing and voice recognition.

      I’ve been sending SMS messages, emails and making phone calls using voice since shortly after 2.2 Froyo shipped. Android 4 supports real-time speech to text dictation.

      The majority of the pieces are there and Android has had Voice support in some form since v1.0. They have improved it with every release of the OS.

  6. MDN is right though. The Android Army will run amuck on the net posting on every blog they can find how “Majel” works just like, or better than “Siri”. They will tout how it can do everything and more as it progresses.
    Second wave will be the iHater bloggers and technology sites. You know who those dozen are.
    Third Wave will be the “Three Amigos” or “Three Stooges” of the Tech world with a fourth member, like Shemp, chiming in with more idiotic postings.
    Fourth Wave is the sad fact that some REAL Journalist are losing their marbles or integrity and will follow along so that they can ride along the wave with the other idiots.

    Sadly the results will be some clueless individual and older folks who actually relies on these morons above for real news and advice.

  7. Watch in about a year if this rumor is true and google opens source its voice technology it will be so far ahead of siri. Then the itards will say “but but but apple did it first” “and they did it right” “and its simple” “and yeah apple yeah”

    1. LOL! Good luck in your paper machete dream castle peterbob.. You obviously don’t understand that Siri improves every time users interact with it. Open sourcing such a project won’t help any in this scenario. This is one project that Apple has that can’t be easily stolen. It can only be shoddily assimilated.

      You follow and support assholes petey. Your phone sucks too.

    2. Yeah? A bunch of freetards in their mom’s basement are going to produce something better than the result of forty years of research by the top universities and military technicians.
      I should lay off the peyote buttons, pal, before your cognitive functions are fucked beyond all hope of resurrection.

  8. A lot of the technology that went into SIRI isn’t proprietary, and is available to Google. Add to that the exponential nature of tech development, and MAJEL won’t require the same kind of time that SIRI did. Google also has bigger better server farms than Apple, and can quickly scale.

    On the other hand, AAPL is already competing against the next wave of competition, allocating enormous resources into ongoing SIRI development, and accumulating precious data. AAPL is also working on integrating SIRI into even more apps and services, which will be harder for Google to replicate.

    While it may appear to be a classic COCO style tech arms race along the lines of the ongoing COCO browser wars, for Google I think it’s more than that. SIRI competes with search, so for Google, coming up with an answer to SIRI is an existential challenge.

    SIRI threatens Google’s core business, so it’s as much about TROUT as it is about COCO.

  9. I’m waiting for the Microsoft response: Tourettes.

    I’m sure Google is calling it “Majel” so they can avoid paying her estate for the use of her voice, by using the Samsung argument. (Saw it on Star Trek, must be public domain.)

  10. Apple concentrates on delivering what it thinks consumers can use and delivers quality features as quick as it can.

    So many other companies just lag along.

    That is a good part of why Apple gets respect and market share.

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