Editors' Note: We originally published this look at Viv on May 9, 2016. On Oct. 5, Samsung announced it was purchasing Viv with an eye toward integrating the artificial intelligence platform into its products. Here's a closer look at Viv.
Everyone has an AI in their pocket these days -- Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Amazon's Alexa have given everyone easy access to virtual assistants. But one promising startup could wind up beating them all: Viv.
Screenshot credit: Viv
Viv is still in its early stages, but it has caused a lot of excitement in the tech community, especially now that it's been bought by Samsung. Here's what you need to know about Viv.
What is Viv, and why should I care?
Viv is poised to be the next big AI assistant. It's from the original creators of Siri, which was purchased by Apple in 2010. Creators Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer have a plenty of experience in the space.
How is Viv different from Siri, Google Now and Alexa?
Viv is designed to be an open AI platform, allowing it to be an information broker between services without ever requiring users to type or open an app. While Siri, for instance, has added more capabilities under iOS 10, including the ability to book you rides on Uber and Lyft, Apple still limits which apps can work with its assistant. Viv wants to change that.
In addition, Viv is designed to be more conversational and intelligent than competing AI assistants and bots, letting you combine multiple requests in a single query, as well as remove requests on the fly (such as toppings on a pizza).
Just how specific can I get with Viv?
Your queries can be far more detailed than with existing virtual assistants. in a May 2016 demo, Kittlaus asked Viv, "Will it be warmer than 70-degrees near the Golden gate bridge after 5pm the day after tomorrow?" without confusing the AI.
Which services are partnering with Viv?
The Washington Post reports that nearly 50 partners have joined, including Uber, flower delivery service FTD, smart home platform Ivee, SeatGuru, Zocdoc, Grubhub and more. In theory, you'll be able to book a doctor's appointment, call a car, order a pizza or grab those last-minute Mother's Day flowers simply by talking to Viv.
So I can online shop with an AI?
Exactly. With your credit card on file, all services need to do is hook up to Viv to let you instantly pay. In one demo, Kittlaus paid a friend through Venmo just by asking. The idea is that users will get almost instant gratification — ordering a pizza from your local participating pizza place will be as easy as saying "buy me a pizza," and the transaction will be done.
How Can I Check Out Viv?
That's not clear yet. The first public demo of the AI took place at TechCrunch Disrupt on May 9, 2016. And you likely won't see Samsung's integration of Viv's features until 2017 when the next Galaxy flagship phones come out.