Google’s Siri competitor to be called ‘Assistant,’ report claims

By on March 7, 2012 at 12:15 AM.

Google’s Siri competitor to be called ‘Assistant,’ report claims

In December, it was reported that Google is working on a solution that will boost the capabilities of its Voice Actions on Android-powered devices in an effort to compete with Apple’s Siri voice assistant. The service, which was previously code-named “Majel,” will launch as “Assistant” according to a report from TechCrunch. Google intends its Assistant service to go beyond Siri’s functionality, and the software giant will maintain complete control of all the layers involved. According to the website’s sources, Assistant is being created by the Android team and has three goals: to put the world’s knowledge into a format a computer can understand, to create a personalization layer and to build a mobile, voice-controlled “do engine” that will help users accomplishing real-life goals. Unlike Apple, Google reportedly intends to make the service available to developers in an effort to broaden its functionality. The service will reportedly be unveiled in the fourth quarter of 2012. More →

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Mercedes-Benz to bring Siri integration to all A-Class vehicles

By on February 28, 2012 at 7:40 PM.

Mercedes-Benz to bring Siri integration to all A-Class vehicles

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled plans to integrate Apple’s Siri voice assistant into its A-Class vehicles, according to a report from PSFK. The integration would allow drivers to access their iPhone apps using voice commands. The feature is being called the Drive Kit Plus program and will work in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz’ Digital DriveStyle app to translate the iPhone’s screen onto the in-car display. The program will feature compatibility with popular apps such as Twitter and Facebook pre-installed, and drivers will be able to listen to music, change radio stations, update their status on social networks and send text messages using voice commands as well. According to the report, the car’s integrated Garmin navigation system will be also compatible with Siri commands. Mercedes-Benz is the first car maker to integrate Apple’s voice assistant into a vehicle, with the feature reportedly set to debut at the 2012 Geneva auto show next month and a rollout to all A-Class vehicles scheduled to begin this fall. More →

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Google developing Siri-like voice commands, proximity-based controls for Google TV

By on February 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM.

Google developing Siri-like voice commands, proximity-based controls for Google TV

A patent filed by Google showcases a new technology that could enable users to control Google TV-equipped devices using their voices, reports Patently Apple. Using a specific smartphone app, users could be able to speak commands or queries that are then acted upon by a television, a set-top box, a DVD player or another device equipped with Google TV, according to the patent filing. The patent documentation also mentions an interesting feature where “the provision of the query to the television may occur when the user is within a set distance of his home also (e.g., by determining with GPS functionality on the smartphone that he is within 1/4 mile of the home), and the television may be turned on automatically as he approaches the home, with the television tuned to a channel that is determined to be most relevant to the query.” Google’s technology can also be applied to music, allowing users to remotely set up a playlist to be streamed on a TV or other device. Whether or not we can expect Google TV products to launch with the functionality described in this patent is unknown. More →

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Samsung unveils new remote with Siri-like voice controls and touch support

By on February 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM.

Samsung unveils new remote with Siri-like voice controls and touch support

Samsung has developed a new universal remote control for its televisions and home theater accessories that ditches dozens of buttons in favor of Siri-like voice command support and a touch pad. As Apple reportedly readies an assault on the TV industry, established vendors such as Sony, LG and Samsung looked to cut the Cupertino-based firm off at the pass during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. All the big names at this year’s show added voice controls and gesture support to their flagship HDTVs, and now Samsung has taken the wraps off its new voice-controlled universal remote, Nikkei’s Tech-On blog reports. The device allows users to speak commands in many cases rather than typing on a keyboard or pressing buttons, and it uses a combination of Bluetooth and infrared connectivity to improve reliability. While Samsung hasn’t yet stated exactly which devices will be compatible with its new remote, it did say TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other accessories will be supported. More →

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Siri’s first real competition hits Android phones today [video]

By on November 29, 2011 at 8:30 AM.

Siri’s first real competition hits Android phones today [video]

Apple’s Siri represents the birth of a new breed of voice-controlled smartphone assistant services, and it is only a matter of time before other companies begin to expand their offerings as a result. While Microsoft and Google undoubtedly work to refine their own voice command services, a new third-party app hits the Android Market on Tuesday that could represent Siri’s first real competition. Cluzee, billed as your intelligent personal assistant, offers Android users a Siri-like service that includes capabilities even more impressive than Siri in some cases. As showcased in a video provided by Tronton, the company behind the app, asking Cluzee a simple question like “what does my schedule look like today?” will yield a spoken rundown of the user’s schedule. Beyond just listing events, however, the app also includes smart tidbits from a range of data it pulls from the web. In one example, Cluzee adds “to reach the doctor’s office on time, you should avoid Main Street because of construction” following the mention of a doctor’s appointment, using traffic data to ensure the user reaches his appointment on time. Read on for more. More →

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Apple’s Siri-based iOS voice controls dubbed ‘Assistant’

By on July 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM.

Apple’s Siri-based iOS voice controls dubbed ‘Assistant’

It has been about 15 months since Apple acquired Siri for a reported $200 million, and it looks as though we won’t have to wait much longer to see the deal bear fruit. In line with earlier reports, 9to5 Mac has been sent evidence that Apple will introduce voice controls in iOS 5. At present, the voice control features within iOS are lumped together in a service called “Assistant,” though this is not confirmed to be the launch name. A screenshot said to have come from an iPhone test unit shows a toggle to activate the Assistant service — and old style toggle rather than the slider from the new iOS 5 UI, interestingly — and 9to5 Mac claims to have verified the service by analyzing Apple’s latest iOS 5 SDK. “‘Assistant’ does not work only based on a user’s voice inputs, but Apple will take information – securely – from user’s devices like location, contact’s information, and music metadata to formulate the best information to serve a user’s request,” 9to5 Mac’s Mark Gurman writes. “Since Apple will be taking information such as phone contacts and location, we truly think that ‘Assistant’ will work just like the Siri iPhone application does; but fully integrated into the operating system.” The source of the screenshot says that the feature just went into testing, however, and it may not be ready in time for the initial release of iOS 5 this fall. More →

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iOS to get Siri-powered voice commands ahead of launch

By on June 7, 2011 at 7:33 PM.

iOS to get Siri-powered voice commands ahead of launch

Citing a source claimed to be reliable, tech blogger Robert Scoble says enhanced voice commands will be included in iOS 5 when it launches this fall. Apple acquired Siri last year, presumably with the intention of enhancing the lackluster voice command support found in iOS. It has been rumored for quite some time that Apple would be making enhanced voice commands a major part of iOS 5, but Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote came and went with no mention of voice commands. Scoble claims that his source — one who spoke accurately of the deep Twitter integration Apple showed off on Monday weeks ahead of WWDC — said Apple’s voice command integration wasn’t ready to show off at the show. The feature will be a part of iOS 5, however, and will perhaps be unveiled this fall when Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone. More →

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