While Google were pioneers in speech recognition technology on their Android platform, Apple's Siri for iOS has been the real star of listening, virtual assistants of 2011. Siri's natural language processing has given Apple the edge for the time being, but Google aims to change that in the near future, albeit with a slightly different approach.
In this Slashgear interview with Matias Duarte, Google's Director of Android OS User Experience, he describes Google's more cut-and-dry approach to speech recognition with a metaphor I think you will all understand:
"If [Siri]'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."
Google's new secret project is codenamed "Majel," named for the Majel Barrett-Roddenbeery who was the voice of Star Trek's Federation Computer. This isn't the first time Google has drawn inspiration from Star Trek and I'm sure it won't be the last.
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