Dec 14 AT 5:17 PM Taylor Wimberly 157 Comments

More info on Google’s Majel, moving a little faster towards that Star Trek future


A couple days ago we posted about Majel, and now some more tips are starting to come in. We compared Majel to Apple’s Siri voice assistant because that’s how it was described to us, but the project could be much larger than we initially imagined. Read on for new details and some interesting quotes from Google employees.

First we had a tip from “Ted,” who described his experience with an early release of Majel on an Android tablet. Even though this tip was sent from an anonymous IP, we believe it to be accurate since it matched an earlier description we received.

Ted wrote: “It’s definitely as good, or better, than Siri. At least on the tablet you can sort through different answers with these swipe-able trays. Like, if you say “show me the Statue of Liberty” it’ll automatically take you to Google Image results, but another tray beneath it might be its location on Google Maps and then another tray might have a Wikipedia page. It’s also pretty good at giving you succinct answers if you ask it a question. The UI is definitely more powerful than Siri’s, even if a little harder to navigate.

At least at one phase of the development you would activate it by saying “Computer…” It was hard not to use a Jean Luc Piccard accent when doing it!”

As you can see, the first release of Majel might be rather simple and focus solely on natural language questions with answers from Google Search.

Next up we have some comments posted to Reddit from an ex-employee of Google who claims to have worked at the secret Google X Lab.

The anonymous Googler wrote: “This is in total violation of the NDA, but I don’t care anymore. Sue me.

The central focus of Google X for the past few years has been a highly advanced artificial intelligence robot that leverages the underlying technology of many popular Google programs. As of October (the last time I was around the project), the artificial intelligence had passed the Turing Test 93% of the time via an hour long IM style conversation. IM was chosen to isolate the AI from the speech synthesizer and physical packaging of the robot.

The robot itself isn’t particularly advanced because the focus was not on mechanics, but rather the software. It is basically a robotish looking thing on wheels. Speech recognition is somewhat better than what you would get with normal speech input, mostly because of the use of high quality microphones and lip-reading assistance.

I have had the chance to interact with the robot personally and it is honestly the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. I like to think of it like Stephen Hawking because it is extremely smart and you can interact with it naturally, but it is incapable of physically doing much. There is a planned phase two for development of an advanced robotics platform.

This sounds more along the lines of the shoot-for-the-stars ideas that the NYTimes described when they wrote about Google X. Obviously, Google has been working on artificial intelligence for many years.

Moving along, we return to some comments from Mike Cohen, Google’s Manager of Speech Technology and co-founder of Nuance Communications (the company that powers some of the technology behind Siri).

Mike Cohen wrote: “In Star Trek, they don’t spend a lot of time typing things on keyboards–they just speak to their computers, and the computers speak back. It’s a more natural way to communicate, but getting there requires chipping away at a range of hard research problems.

We’ve recently made some strides with speech technologies and tools that take voice input. But what about when the computer speaks to you–in other words, voice output?

That’s why we’re pleased to announce we’ve acquired Phonetic Arts, a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England. Phonetic Arts’ team of researchers and engineers work at the cutting edge of speech synthesis, delivering technology that generates natural computer speech from small samples of recorded voice.

We are excited about their technology, and while we don’t have plans to share yet, we’re confident that together we’ll move a little faster towards that Star Trek future.”

Many readers joked in the comments of our previous article that they wish Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s voice could be used for Google’s project, and it turns out they have the technology to do it. They would still need to license the rights to Majel’s voice samples, but Google could essentially replicate any voice they want.

Keeping with the Star Trek theme, we have more comments from Google’s Amit Singhal found in The Evolution of search video posted in November.

Amit Singhal says: “My dream has always been to build the Star Trek computer, and in my ideal world, I would be able to walk up to a computer, and say, ‘Hey, what is the best time for me to sow seeds in India, given that monsoon was early this year?’ And once we can answer that question (which we don’t today), people will be looking for answers to even more complex questions. These are all genuine information needs. Genuine questions that if we — Google — can answer, our users will become more knowledgeable and they will be more satisfied in their quest for knowledge.”

Finally, we have the comments of Matias Duarte, the computer-interface designer and user-experience lead for Android,  from an interview with The Daily Beast.

Matias Duarte said: “Voice is absolutely going to be an essential part of user interfaces. I mean Google and Android have been working on Voice for years. Even in Ice Cream Sandwich we released significant improvements to the way Voice dication works. What I think is going to be interesting about Voice is trying to treat Voice as something that is universally accessible in every application and not confine it to just a gimmick or something you only use when you are in the car or on the go.

I really want computers to be multimodal. When you watch a science fiction show like Star Trek, someone walks up to a wall and starts touching things and speaking to a computer at the same time. That’s the way that I think our interfaces need to evolve. You need to be able to start using email, touching things on screen, speak to it, touch more things, and not really have to think about ‘am I using Voice now or not using Voice.’ You just use the computer input that is most natural at that time.”

That sounds a little more advanced than how we described the first release of Majel, but Matias said they were already working on the user interface for the next version of Android, codenamed Jelly Bean, and the next version after that.

We’re just in the early stages of comprehending how large a project Majel has become, but we still expect some kind of release on Android devices early next year. Google engineers are already testing a version of Majel that might be released as an upgrade to Google’s Voice Actions application, but we fully expect it will be a core part of Android’s next major release.

Hopefully, we will have some concrete details to share in the coming weeks.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • zyphbear

    This is Fantastic! I can’t wait to be able to treat it more like the computer in Star Trek and just get useful results for what you ask of it.

    Though I would have to try my best to avoid saying “Computer, End Program”.

    • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

      My friend is always saying i have Siri, and I go like so I got Iris, he goes like yeah but you have to download it, i’m like so its better. But now he’s going to regret leaving android muahahaha just kidding on the laughter part lol.

      • stenzor

        That was quite confusing to read, but iris is even more of a toy than siri

        • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

          It is

      • MJM128

        They’re both gimicky, I’m interested to see how google will try and actually get users using the service for practical things.

        All I’ve seen people with iPhone 4S’s do is ask stupid questions like “Siri I want to chuck you off a bridge” and then siri replies by finding you bridges near by.

        • John

          Then stop hanging out with losers.

          • Hershell Tidwell

            John….that was funny.

        • erikiksaz

          If Majel can be commanded to turn on without touching the phone, I think it might be relatively successful. I know that some apps can perform this now, but it’d be interesting to see the benefits of an OS-embedded app.

    • keridel

      i would expect, NAY demand that “end program” was put into it as a command.

      • BiGMERF

        absolutely fascinating video! thanks for sharing !

    • Michael C.

      I was thinking more along the lines of, “Computer, load program Risa 1″… #holodecksarenext

    • King Chris Scott

      Me: Majel, how does iPhone’s future look?
      Majel: crash and burn…

      • Sourabh

        Now. this is a good one…

    • tmihai20

      I never thought that Google’s research would be so advanced. I just read about Majel and Alfred the other days. I am happy that Google has something prepared to counter Apple’s Siri and any other product out there.

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Awesome!! Now I need that tegra 2 g2x from you guys :) to run it smoothly, darn you MT3G.

  • ranwanimator

    One step closer to Skynet? I think so.

    • stenzor

      One small step for man, one giant leap for robots

      • Futureboy

        …except for the Google X robot, which can’t leap at all.

        • ranwanimator


          • stenzor

            Oh crap I imagined a giant leaping robotic spider. Now I’m scared for the future

    • levigarret

      john titor never mentioned majel?

  • stenzor

    Today I learned that Stephen Hawking is a robot

    • keridel

      no he isnt lol.

      • stenzor

        But he compared a robot to Stephen Hawking–one of the greatest scientific minds of all time.. A little insulting to Mr. Hawking, no?

        • lxgeorge

          But it’s overshadowed cause Stephen Hawking will most likely never read his comment because he’s too important and busy unraveling the secrets of the universe

        • keridel

          i see sorry. sarcasm is hard to read on the net :D

          i met stephen hawking once. at a convention. it was mind blowing

          • stenzor

            Yeah I agree.. I try to avoid making sarcastic comments because I usually get downvoted, but that’s my nature.. That’s really awesome that you met Stephen Hawking.. I’d love to meet him some day. I read A Brief History of Time when I was younger and it led me on a trail of exploration and other books like The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos. Really makes me wish I had the brains to study theoretical physics.

          • keridel

            i’ve been wanting to do a university course in it. nearly there. few more qualifications. its all the maths that’s the bugger

        • MJM128

          “I like to think of it like Stephen Hawking because it is extremely smart and you can interact with it naturally, but it is incapable of physically doing much.”

          No, he just pointed out that he’s pretty much not able to do much physically. But man that was a harsh simile.

  • Techrocket9

    I’m highly suspicious of the guy that claims that Google X has a robot that passes the Turing Test 93% of the time. The current public record holder doesn’t have a high enough success rate to get a single pass. A 93% success rate would be beyond phenomenal and leagues ahead of present-day computer science.

    Not to say that it wouldn’t be very cool, but I think we are still a long, long ways off of a “true AI”.

    • Phil

      I dunno…I wouldn’t think you could get a car to reliably navigate arbitrary roads either. I think some serious work goes on deep down in Google thats never really publicized or given credit. Not saying it has to be true but I wouldn’t be that surprised if it was. Its also why I always say Apple is no where near the software company that Google is. They just make sleek gadgets that the tech media turns into amazing technology advancements.

      • dfmckay

        Navigating roads is a relatively simple task because roads have visual markers that can be processed by a computer. If Google had a AI that passed the Turing Test I would think they would be bragging about it because that is a major achievement.

    • TJungus

      Yes, but does the current world record holder have an endless supply of funds and a programmable memory?

  • Thomas Biard

    “Catain’s log; I AM SO EXCITED!!!!”

    • Lee Swanson

      And I just can’t hide it!

  • mr 1338

    voice actions as they are now and Siri on the iPhone are pretty useless in their state now.
    not more than a fun toy but this sounds like future!

  • David

    Amazing though I would love it if at the end of each response it would say in a menacing voice, “End of Line.” lol

    • ranwanimator

      That’s been my email signature for years.

  • Deeds

    This sounds amazing, and would help in showing up apple

  • Futureboy

    The power of what will be possible in the near future is amazing!

  • keridel

    I love matias idea of interacting with both touch and voice.

    so while writing an email i can say. “Majel play me some kings of leon.”

    that would be epic.

  • Bryan Stoner

    Great article Taylor XD With all this information it seems that a lot of people are really excited about this project. And you can tell Google is putting a lot of work into making their dream come true. But can you believe it!! 93% of the time it passed the Turing test~!! I can’t wait to see its debut.

  • Arturo Castro

    I cant wait for a preview of this, even a tiny glimpse.

    But like it was said before, everybody is going to say they copied apple, even though its been in development.

  • Martjn2

    I saw a compirision between siri and google voice yesterday and google could do 9 out of 10 tasks that siri could. So didn’t understood apple’s strategy, nothing revolutionary at all. Google don’t brag about regular features and that’s why i love it <3

  • Martjn2

    <3 Androidandme

  • kusine

    I’ll take the anonymous bits with a grain of salt, but I’m still looking forward to this!

  • Nathan D.

    reading this, I might actually uses this time to time just because it could be very useful.

  • AsakuraZero

    im just speechless, after studying AI on college this is , wow, i cant express myself …


  • teecruz

    the 22nd Paragraph, quoted of Martias makes me super happy!
    Smart man, he is. :)

  • Elliot Powell

    I can See, in the spirit of the advancing technology and how technology today is obviously inspired by Star Trek, The Roddenberry Estate Licensing Majel’s Voice to Google. it would be great.

    • goncalossilva

      Now *that* would be (another) killer feature.

    • Andy Thomson

      I would LOVE this!

  • IntlGrizzly

    This could be soo cool! It has so much potential

  • awesomellamas57

    my friends do that as well; they think that because something is apple that it’s better than an android machine and that the android equivalent can’t possibly be better than siri.

  • azswift

    I’m thinking of all the time my kids are spending typing in “computers” class and how they’ll be speaking everything on their home computer and phone by the time they hit the workforce. Except in the office, because they are still on Windows 7 & will be upgrade to Windows 10 in one more year…

    It’s going to be so amazing when the physical skill of typing no longer determines proficiency with technology.

  • Peter Dowling

    I’m confused what the Google X part has to do with Majel, but this sounds awesome!
    I can’t wait to be able to show up all them iPhone users what talking to a real robot does as opposed to an apple

  • jamal

    What a wonderful Wednesday. Google love to the max.

  • darkhorse166

    It’s all well and good for it to have AI routines and speech synthesis capabilities, but will it have a *personality*? (I’m immediately reminded of the Singaporean SIMI parody…)

  • HoLfElDeR

    Future is awaiting us…

  • BlkSquad

    Sounds awesome. Computer, play victory music!

  • Briareos

    Oh man, this is potentially HUGE. They can recreate any voice with just samples of it? That means they could license voices and sell them as “voice packs” for your phone/tablet! You want Majel to read you your newest email? You want Ahnuld to read out your directions from Google Nav? You want T-Pain to call out your tweets? BOOM DONE.

  • Marc’us H.

    Siri is a great application to have, and while this will draw a lot of comparisons because everyone keeps describing it as such. I think (with what’s been explained so far) Majel will find ways to separate itself from it even further, and either be linear to, or surpass Siri.

    • Phil

      Honestly this is in a whole other class from Siri. Its actual advancements in AI. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Siri is a early 2000′s chat bot that simply responds with good voice synthesis. Chat bots could already understand natural language. And Siri’s “intelligence” in terms of answers comes from Wolfram. But sadly the tech media is still in love with Apple and will find any way they can to make this into a Siri copy or come up with some sort of argument about it not being as “beautiful” or something. Even without all of that it sounds like Google is trying to make this THE interface to the device and not just an app to do a few things. I’d imagine if its going to be like the computer on Star Trek you could probably replace any button touch with speaking the word or image on the button. Now THAT would be serious.

  • ld6772

    Google voice search can be frustratingly slow to encode the speech; I do hope that this is somewhat faster now. Either by compressing the speech more, or faster translation.

  • Hall Lo

    So attractive! Look forward to it :D

  • Louis A

    ok now this’s what’s up!!

  • TruFactz

    HAAAH! GO GOOGLE! U know what would be a perfect launch???? If they did it during the launch of the Roddenberrys into outer space next year!

  • xfaith

    With the recent acquisition it will be great to see how it gets incorporated into Majel. I have tried a few of the “siri” copies for Andriod, and not really have found anything worth while just yet.

    But then again I have not tried Siri either, dont think I am in “need” of it, unless it works 100% of the time doing everything, and everything is connected its just a toy.

    I know for some of the programs it would work for making calls but then would put a screen up for Home or Mobile number. Also if I wanted to do a txt it would open messaging. I only use GV for my txt’s now that could be an option somewhere to set it up that way but I did not see it.

    -Now some of those issues are probably setup issues or me not reading instructions, but it shouldnt have to :).

  • Leo Young

    Ok. This is way bigger than a speech recognition module. This is truly human level interface with information. Multi-modal and natural I/O. I am very keen to have this in my life.

    Lots of times, trying to get information out of humans can be difficult. I was recently trying to quiz a doctor for information but he kept on not hearing the question because of his own stuff and telling me what he wanted me to hear. I had to assure him that I heard his point before he would listen to my question correctly. I think one reason why we turn to the internet for information is we get the answer to the question and not the answer to what the other person thinks the question should be.

    Stick a human like, computer interface in there and it will completely change the way we inform our lives and decide how to live.

    I am in.

  • Nickedynick

    Well I am extremely excited about this! Great to get some inside info on a topic like this at last.

  • protozeloz

    this is awesone :D

  • eliander

    I think this would be innovative way more than siri or Iris. I would love to have this command do some work and make voice commands work in a game. Example any fps game and say PC headshot anyone who tries to knife me :D.

    • eliander mendoza

      this was my post.

  • vid500

    Can’t wait to try it out (and use it) in the (near) future. Yes they are really going fast in the developmant of new technology. Amazing.

  • Kendall Cunningham

    Wow, I’m impressed. I’m curious to see how this turns out, and when it’s released!

  • Dan13

    This is mind blowing. I can’t wait for this to come to our android phones. I guess there will be something that actually uses all the power in an android phone.

  • Ilyse Rose

    I really can’t wait to see this in real life. If it works as well as they say it does/want it to it will be the most amazing addition to the Android OS.

  • romy134

    I just hope its well integrated.

  • Marcus

    This is starting to sound more and more amazing. I like how Singhal somewhat hints at the Star Trek computer thing. Haha. I can’t wait to see what else Google has in store for Majel!

  • mrbill187


  • pritams

    I can’t wait see the faces of those blondes who are proud owner of SIRI…

  • Lee Swanson

    Neat. I don’t know if I’ll use it a lot, but it’s nice to have the option.

  • aholland1

    Amazing! The applications for this go way beyond Android, which will be a proving ground if nothing else. Think Deepthought. Think Jarvis (who I am more keen to have for a voice btw), and real world assisting machines on demand in all fields of industry. We just might live to see the second renaissance after all :-)

  • Lewis McGeary

    I thought the Turing Test bit seemed unlikely, but thinking about it, here’s what could be happening.
    Presumably the only people anywhere near this are Google engineers, if this particular Turing test is comparing the AI responses to a Google engineers responses….well lets just say that might not be the same as comparing to a regular human, can one distinguish a google engineer from a computer?
    I’m joking of course…or am I?

  • Jon Garrett

    There are 3 apple forums I visit daily in addition to the 25+ Android sites I visit and already they’re hating and calling Google a copier and and trying to “clone’ Siri.

    • 94wolfpack

      HA! Lets see Majel is just an evolution (admittedly on steroids) of google voice actions.

  • Lewis McGeary

    Also, hate to add a pessimistic note, but is there any precedent for such a big advancement being released in a point update? Could this be a headline feature in the next major version rather than something in the near future?

  • phssthpok

    Well, I’m sure Apple will say they own the patent for all the technology involved. If it’s good it *had* to be invented there, right?

    • JoeInAlbany

      That’ll be laughable.

      Dragon Systems had speech synthesis and recognition in the 90′s.

      For phones, Google has had speech in Android from the jump.

  • humidity

    Wow, my mind just exploded!

  • luis Hernandez

    We need this to stay above apple even more!

  • Kenneth Ohonba

    Google Android keeps getting more appealing. I can’t wait till it’s released. Hopefully it’s not infected with bugs

    • Samar

      Better not keep your fingers crossed. It sure is gonna happen. Better install an AV firsthand.

    • donger

      yes indeed

  • Jorge Eslava

    I’m sure Google will end up surprising us in a good way.

    • Samar

      Hoping so.

  • la_resistance28

    I love love love the numerous Star Trek references. It’s kinda neat to see how yesterday’s sci-fi can inspire today’s smartest people to create amazing technology.

    What’s next? My vote goes to replicator technology! We’d eradicate starvation throughout the world in a generation! And I wouldn’t mind some sweet holo-deck tech either, haha.

  • Jimmy13

    I’m sure I’ll have fun with it. Dorking out in my car that is.

  • AceoStar

    Great read!

  • Ilyse Rose

    I just want to be able to say something like “Android, set an alarm for…” or “Android, show me…”

    As long as I can address my phone like that, I’m happy.

  • Luis Lopez

    asshhsahshhsdhshhshashssh this is soooo exciting! i just want to voice chat with my majel all day and then Siri will be soooo jeeeloooous… lol oh Google… your so crazy.

  • ben dover

    “computer, take out the trash, mop the floor and bring me a beer.”

    can’t wait for that day! :-P

    • Samar


  • alee

    Google X sounds quite interesting, but it could be a while before we actually see it available to the public.

    In addition to licensing Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s voice, maybe they could also implement an LCARS user interface.

    • Samar

      Good One.

  • Anthropic

    What’s funny is reading the comments over on Apple Insider and the stark raving mad lunatic perspective of these announcements most of the nutters there have. I bet none of them use Siri, yet they still go to any length required to defend her honour and continue deluding themselves that it is the single greatest thing ever put into an operating system.

  • Samar

    Looking fwd to rock woth Majel, whenever that come sout. Let the rumour mill roll .. :-)

  • dacatalyst41

    The GEEK inside of me is growing stronger everyday! Thank you Android!!!!

  • jimtravis

    The geek in me welcomes this, and the more “:Star Trek” like it is, the better I will like it.
    The public transit user, and movie enthusiast in me hopes the users (nothing to do with the technology) will use it wisely, and minimize use in crowded buses, subway trains, movie theaters, etc. In appropriate places, this technology, and Siri etc are great, but unfortunately a small minority of users abuse voice interaction in crowded public places.

  • Louis A

    Reading this article a second time get’s me really excited. Makes you wonder how phones will be like in the near feature.

  • Andy Thomson

    I love living in the future!! Yet as cool as Majel sounds, I wonder how much I would talk to my phone to give it commands…. maybe at home or in the car but I doubt I would sit and do it in a public place.

  • TheITCynic

    “In Star Trek, they don’t spend a lot of time typing things on keyboards–they just speak to their computers, and the computers speak back. It’s a more natural way to communicate, but getting there requires chipping away at a range of hard research problems.”

    I couldn’t disagree more… The reason why they speak to computers in Star Trek is the same reason every computer in every TV show / movie ever made, makes a “beeping” sound while it is processing… Because it is more suited to an audience of viewers. Someone bashing away at a nondescript keyboard is usually reserved for the background cast, because it is nowhere near as engaging / involving to watch.

    I look forward to powerful and useful natural language processing – but I don’t not see it at all as a replacement to standard interfaces (but it will make a nice addition to it).

  • zippyioa

    I still don’t get the whole voice activated thing!? I’d feel a numpty walking down the street talking at my phone! At other times, I either don’t need it or it would be too noisy tobuse accurately.

  • Duc Ng

    Google has been focusing on 1 and only 1 thing: Information.
    People don’t like to remember anything anymore because Google is there for them.
    Don’t know if it’s good or bad… yet.

    Duc Ng

  • Joe

    - “Majel, help!”

    - “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”

  • Gazos

    I absolutely cant wait for this. Going to implement it into my Automated Home.

    Long Live Android!!!

    Death to the Apple!!!

  • smisa27

    I really can’t wait for this. I’ve been playing around with other apps which are supposed to be comparable to Siri, and they’re fun to play with, but after a while, it get’s a bit old because of it’s limitations. But once Google comes out with theirs, I’m sure it will reinvigorate my passion for the speech recognition. I just wish my phone were a bit faster so I can play around with a lot of the cool fun features.

  • w00x

    Why is everything being developed with English speakers in mind? WIth English not being the main language in my country, I couldn’t be less excited about this development.

    Why don’t they start making things that work for everyone and not simply copy what Apple does so they can be “even”?

    • Sarp

      I totally agree with you w00x.

      Well everything looks great but there is something else to be considered: Multi Language Support.

      Google Voice Search is pretty accurate in my language: Turkish.
      I hope it will also understand Turkish terms and expressions by time.

      Yes, English is the universal language but localization is the thing that makes the difference for my opinion.

  • dafi81

    people are so smart how can they be so stupid ;)

  • kusic

    Actually my first question for Majel would be: “Computer what are the coordinates of Enterprise now..?” (Second one: “What is the stardate today?”)

  • HoLfElDeR

    Try Iris. it is similar to Siri and it is for Android users.

  • androidindia

    About time , hell yeah =))

  • roamdeus

    Ohhhhhh jellybean so Im guessing thats official …..sorry apple innovation is dead (like your idol) google has endless supply of happy non mistreated employees that have the freedom to do great things keep up the great work we appreciate it all

  • gr8cop

    This could be interesting..

  • Mwandia

    Having a avatar would be cool when your talking its on the screen when you ask it a question like “what does a Samsung Galaxy Nexus look like?” then the avatar moves to the side while a small window appears next to the avatar searches the web and opens the first image of a samsung galaxy nexus then it tells you that if you dont like the picture you can press the image and it opens the images to full screen then you can browse through all the images.

  • Jeb

    This would be awesome! I’d be an alpha tester for the the startrek computer

  • ibap

    Not ready to move back to Verizon. Will we ever see the equivalent of SIM cards for CDMA? Probably not.

  • Apple Fanboy

    Oh my, these comments are really creepy.

    It seems everyone can’t wait for Star Trek becoming real… just like the bunch of nerds that Google has locked away in their basement.

    Too bad the real future will probably look like this: When Majel is going public in 10-18 months, it will be worse than Siri now and far behind Siri then (but it will most definitely activate on saying “Computer“!).

    Sorry, no Star Trek salvation yet.

  • Danny Calderon

    I just can’t do it captain, I don’t have the power!

  • theJP

    “Computer please leave a comments on this post”. I’m excited for this, I use the voice actions with my bluetooth headset a lot when I am walking. It isn’t perfect yet but it works well enough.

  • Guacamole

    I think that anonymus googler is actually google’s AI impersonating an Ex-googler leaking information…just saying

  • nipun aggarwal

    no matter which device or which android os version gets majel…i am gonna dump my mobile and get this tech….i was so jealous after ai launched siri but now i think google is listening to its user …they released new market as previous was laggy and now majel …wow…..i luv google …go android..

  • drosseau

    Does anyone think they would actually use this that much? Voice actions does everything I need for me already. I know lots of people with iPhones that have siri and they say they NEVER use it. They said it was fun for like 3 days but it was easier just to do things on their own. For that hands free part to be able to make calls and send a text it is nice but the rest is just gimmicky if you ask me.

  • George

    Aren’t Phonetic Arts the people that made Roger Ebert’s synthetic voice out of old recordings of his?

    Or am I confusing them with somebody else?

  • Homncruse

    “Speech recognition is somewhat better than what you would get with normal speech input, mostly because of the use of high quality microphones and lip-reading assistance.”

    That’s something I hadn’t considered before. It’s no secret that speech recognition is, shall we say… less than ideal, quite often – but with so many phones including a front-facing camera these days, it would be pretty amazing to utilize that with a lip-reading algorithm to improve the recognition quality, especially in situations when the confidence factor doesn’t meet a given threshold.

  • Jules X

    “the artificial intelligence had passed the Turing Test 93% of the time via an hour long IM style conversation”

    So, after an HOUR of chatting with the AI and a human via IM, testers were only able to correctly tell which was which SEVEN out of a 100 times.

    I mean, where did they recruit these humans? And what had they done to them first? Was English their first language? Their fifth?

  • Jason D

    Siri or Majel, I don’t see a lot of practical real world applications for a voice activated/response UI outside of a very specific situations:
    For the blind, and for when someone is driving.
    The funny thing is, well, go home and watch Star Trek TNG or any of the ones that take place in the same time period.
    When do they use voice commands? (1) When there is no terminal nearby (2) when using a terminal doesn’t get them the results they want. They’re never at their duty stations barking orders at the computer. They use their hands for most things.
    I can’t see myself sitting at home, 2 inches from my phone telling it to send an email when I can do it myself with my hands faster and more reliably. The thing about a regular UI is that there’s no guesswork on the part of the machine. It does not have to interpret your actions. You either clicked or you didn’t. With voice commands it’s now got to figure out what you said, what you want, and then go about the process of delivering. To me, it adds an extra step.

  • SpottedMarley

    I won’t use a voice interface until I can name it whatever I want.

    To hell with Siri.. or Iris .. or Majel ..

    I would like the latitude to call my phone by it’s proper name, Fred.

  • Michael

    however, I am still waiting for the drive on WARP. So who will be our Zefram Cochrane?

  • Morgan

    So, Ray Bradbury should be credited with inventing the future of User Interfaces?

  • detlev artelt

    Voice needs a behavior change – I don’t understand why today people still prefer to type as speaking is faster and the error rate is lower than typing.

    Whatever th product name is, we will see much more speech solutions the next years. All the basics are there and the different logical connections to data are there as well. the right mix will create a much better user interface as we have today.

    BUT – if human don’t accept to change – we stand still. And you all know what this means.

    Yes, I’m very positive about speech as I wrote a few books about this see voice compass website

  • Alex

    Why is everyone using macs at google? Stop supporting your competition.

  • Alex

    Why is everyone using macs at google? Stop supporting your competition. They put bugs in those mac books to steal your info and create their own search engine. You have been warned

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  • stenzor

    More like:

    *Get into car*
    *Car senses that the door has been opened and someone is in the drivers seat*
    *Car weighs driver*
    “It seems like you have gained some weight sir, may I suggest walking?”

  • protozeloz

    Or even better.

    -Google uses TV so it knows your favotite show and help you never miss it

    -Google uses web and phone to keep your day easy and in control (mailing documents checking for staticks and numbers)

    -Google Uses home to help you manage your house

    -And your car to help you being more ovupied on other things

    So when you have a bad day Google can drive you for a nice road while playing your favorite music. When you arrive home the AC is at a nice temperature. Your favorite show recoded and ready to watch without comercials and 5 minutes latter a pizza guy(or restaurant) knocks your door with your favorite toppings and a nice deal on your card. And a call from yout girl to make it better

  • Anthony E

    Only GLaDOS would be like that. And, even then, only to Chell. xD