Several weeks ago I received a request to review a new app called Alfred, which was described to me as “Pandora for the real world.” That sounded pretty cool, so I installed an early build of the app and planned to write about it last week.
At the very last minute their PR firm asked me to hold off on posting about it, and I hadn’t heard anything since. But now I find out that Google just acquired Clever Sense, the developer of the app. To my surprise, the final version of the app is now live in the Android Market, so anyone can go grab it to see what Google was after.
In my very short time with Alfred, I was impressed with what I saw. The apps relies on Clever Sense’s artificial intelligence-based platform to crawl the web and learn about places based on how people describe them. Upon starting up the app, Alfred asks you a few questions about your favorite restaurant and other places you like to hang out. Then he uses his knowledge to predict what else you might like and tell you where to get it.
Clever Sense CEO Babak Pahlavan detailed the acquisition on the company site today. Mr. Pahlavan wrote, “With Google and Clever Sense working together, our entire team looks forward to building more intelligent, serendipitous and magical services!”
The suggestions from Alfred worked pretty well in Austin, so I can see why Google would go after Clever Sense’s AI platform to improve their own products and services.
Google also weighed in on the acquisition with a statement released to TechCrunch. The note read, “By combining their technology and expertise with our team and products, we’ll be able to provide even more people with intelligent, personalized recommendations for places to eat, visit and discover.”
As Ryan Kim of GigaOm points out, “Clever Sense also gives Google more artificial intelligence as it competes with Apple and its new voice assistant Siri.”
We reported yesterday that Google is working on an update to Voice Actions codenamed Majel, which focuses on bringing together Google’s artificial intelligence and voice technologies. I have a feeling some of the Clever Sense engineers might be joining that project in the future.
In the mean time, check out the video preview of Alfred below, download the app, and let us know what you think about how well it performs.