We've seen numerous Siri clones arrive on Android Market both legit and utterly fake, but most of us are still waiting on Google to churn out a true competitor to Apple's Siri. Unfortunately, that may not happen until the end of the year, as Google "Assistant" (or Majel) could be a part of Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" when it's reportedly unleashed before the end of 2012.
According to TechCrunch, Google has been fine-tuning voice technology for ages thanks to Mike Cohen. But Google has also signed on search engineer Amit Singhai to help the Android team push well beyond the boundaries of Siri's current limitations, and introduce a competing service by the end of the year for Android consumers.
Naturally Assistant will be integrated into Google services like Gmail, Google+, YouTube, and Google Maps. But the service will also be extended out to developers via an API so that they can add Assistant-based features to their apps. There's even indication that Assistant will find its way into next-generation Google TVs, matching Apple's rumored Siri-powered iTVs that have yet to be officially announced.
According to anonymous sources, the Assistant project is broken down into three parts. First, the team aims to get the world's knowledge into a format a computer can understand. Second, to create a personalized layer taking notes from Google+ and Google +1 data. And then third, to build a mobile, voice-centered "Do Engine" that's focused on accomplishing real-life goals rather than retrieving search results like a virtual dog. This "Do Engine" will be what Google focuses on in 2012.
Assistant is likely the product discovered in a Google patent just weeks ago. The patent describes a Siri-like user interface for Google TV. It will also go beyond searching for specific TV shows and movies, citing examples such as the following:
"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…"
Naturally Google has yet to make any official announcement regarding Assistant, but we do know something is in the works, spanning multiple Android-based form factors. We're hoping to know more about the project during Google I/O this June.