It was just a matter of time. As expected, Google has decided not to be left back with the success of Apple’s Siri. Well, the decision of not to be left back was done long before but it has gained momentum and publicity now.
Codenamed “Majel”, after the Star Trek computer, it is an evolution of Google’s Voice Actions that is currently available on most Android phones with the addition of natural language processing. While Voice Actions required you to issue specific commands, Majel will allow you to perform actions in your natural language, similar to how Siri functions. As Director of Android OS User Experience Matias Duarte says-
“The metaphor I like to take is – if it’s Star Wars, you have these robot personalities like C-3PO who runs around and he tries to do stuff for you, messes up and makes jokes, he’s kind of a comic relief guy. Our approach is more like Star Trek, right, starship Enterprise; every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just “Computer.” And you can talk to it and you can touch it, you can interact with it at the same time as you talk with it. It’s just another way to interface with the computer.”
As to the question of where it is being developed, the answer isn’t as simple as you would consider it to be. One should remember its Google we’re talking about. They hate to keep things simple and obvious!
In a “Top-Secret” lab in an undisclosed area, lies the facility that is home to about a 100 different ideas of the future. Majel being one of them. Named as Google X, the company has been so secretive about this facility that even most employees didn’t know the lab existed!
Most of the ideas on the list are in the conceptual stage, nowhere near reality. But with the Artificial Intelligence techniques and machine learning in its search algorithm, some of these outlandish projects may not be as far away in future as we guess!
With Google already having shown the success of “Driverless Cars” and now working on “Space Elevators”, Majel could turn out to be another feather in the cap for the Web Giant. But it doesn’t mean Google is trying to go over the top on all these matters. The focus of their work can be determined from Larry Page’s words-
“There are a few small, speculative projects happening at any one time, but we are very careful stewards of shareholders’ money. We are not betting the farm on these.”
As they say, let’s wait and watch!
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