Dec 13 AT 7:30 PM Taylor Wimberly 98 Comments

Go download Alfred to see why Google bought Clever Sense


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.

Via: Clever Sense

Source: Alfred (Android Market)

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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    Downloading as I type !

  • zyphbear

    This looks really cool! I’m downloading it right now and will have to give it a try this weekend when I go out for dinner.
    This almost looks like it could replace urbanspoon, but with intelligence!

  • jamal

    Would be a great addition to Majel

    • lxgeorge

      And it’s named after Bruce Wayne’s butler XD

      • tmihai20

        Just like Voice search, this is available in US+Canada only. Would love to try it sometimes.

        • pjamies

          Actually it is NOT available in Canada !! :(

          • tmihai20

            That is a first. Why does Google restrict some of its apps to US only? I understand we won’t get all the benefits, but I can handle it. Come on Google, let us all Android users enjoy your latest technology!

  • Michael

    Only available in the US unfortunately. :(

    • desean

      Yes unfortunately. I do hope they expand to other countries fast…

  • oddball

    Another cool new Google product. They are really stepping up their game recently and they were doing pretty well to begin with

    • oddball

      Really liking this app it recommended 2 new restaurants based on my choices. We are heading out to try it for dinner

  • Deeds

    Can’t wait to get personalized recommendations from this app

  • w0urds

    Always looking for recommendations nearby.

  • Lewis McGeary

    Well I guess this is a case of the developer making more money through Android than iOS. They developed for iOS first, but when they develop for Android, Google buy the company!!

  • Nicholas Vettese

    Thanks for the info. Downloading now.

  • xfaith

    Pretty interesting, but it does point out that I need to “upgrade” my Palate from Fast food. Every question was answered with In N Out (which is great btw) or Rubio…..well at least I learned a lesson here.

  • aranea

    I bet Majel will sound like a British butler!

    Good to see that I’m not the only one who thinks this will complement Google’s own voice recognition.

    • Lewis McGeary

      I’m a bit worried with each part having it’s own name though.

      “Majel, ask Alfred for a good place to eat around here”

      Could get complicated!

      • Taylor Wimberly

        Majel is just a codename. In the end, it will likely just be activated by saying “Computer…”

        • Lewis McGeary

          Haha, I could deal with that.
          It could even be an extension of applying a visual theme on the phone, “2001″ theme you have to speak to HAL, “Red Dwarf” theme and you’re dealing with Holly.

        • la_resistance28

          Although the geek in me would love to just address the phone as “Computer”, I’m not so sure about the mainstream consumer. Apple was smart to keep the “Siri” name, it adds to the personality of the overall device and is now synonymous with Apple’s voice controls, i.e. “Ask Siri where we should go for dinner” vs “Ask the computer where we should go for dinner”. Which sounds more marketable?

          • NasLAU

            Just keep the name Alfred then.

          • aranea

            Maybe user will have a choice in the name. I’d also like to say “Computer” to my phone yet I agree that mainstream users may like Alfred or something like it more.

            On another note I think apple should have used “My Precious” instead of Siri. That fits Apple fanboys more especially if you picture Gollum saying it while holding the ring.

  • nsnsmj

    Looks pretty interesting. I think I’ll give it a go.

  • ArticulateFool

    This will be fantastic while traveling.

  • Emmanuel Rodriguez

    And at the end “Available on the iphone”
    Go take your iphone and sit at Starbuck lol

  • EwanRGR

    This certainly addresses one of the main problems I had with Siri – that it wasn’t truly personal. While I don’t think this completes the job by any means, I think this is a strong step forward.

  • Homncruse

    “Alfred, where can I buy a new bat suit?”

    • psipher

      Now that Google owns it, I’m guessing DC Comics will be going after them for the name.

      • Ismael Rodriguez

        No, Apple is going to buy DC Comics…and THEN go after Google some more.

    • alxrock

      lol… that was the first thing that came to mind.

  • Craig Mogi

    Seems pretty interesting so far. Its cool that you can ‘teach’ it your tastes to personalize it. Hopefully my love for sushi doesn’t overwhelm poor Alfred.

  • clarkeblaise

    Seems pretty interesting, I’ll check it out, I think. Alfred just might be the best name for an app ever, too.

  • kusine

    Wouldn’t let me pick a location, though the option was there. Once I let it use GPS, it was fun to play with. It might be interesting, but it did suggest Rally’s after I “liked” a local gourmet hamburger place. Not sure that’s *quite* the same thing…

    • flip3547

      For a first release this is great. Looking forward to what’s to come, I like the interaction part. Otherwise it’s just another shopping app. Mahal looks to be very promising, especially with the people from this app on board!

  • beatrixasdfghjk.

    Well that looks nice D:
    They’ve got to update that video so it says ‘AVAILABLE ON ANDROID AND THE IPHONE’.

  • Kent Burton

    yup downloading now will have to check this thing out and see if it is all the rage

  • Aleksandar Simov

    Alfred is like Hercule Poirot. Really… bow tie, mustache and he is round.

  • mclarensr

    Downloaded, like it so far. In a small town not many new things that I dont know of. Would like to see how it works when travelling.

  • Kent Burton

    getting it now so I can check it out it sounds cool

  • Kent Burton

    Test … I cant seem to comment … Got to check this thing out .. looks like a cool app

  • charrion

    Not available in Canada :(

  • xsynth

    This looks really good! Shame I can’t download it.
    So many apps that I would love to use. Companies need to start working on a global scale. Testing in one country is fine, but could they release it for everyone once it goes live??

  • protozeloz

    Can someone helps us with the APK? Ill be gratefull for that

  • Chris Lewis

    Great app!!! funny how a user review gave it one star and blamed it on the needed permissions. geese!! if you dont like the permissions dont download it thats why it informs you on the download page! haha anyways, this app is great so far!

  • KeithG

    Anyone else think they are getting permission for a little too much information gathering in the user agreement?

  • Nathan D.

    That looks cool if I wanted to go out and eat

  • goncalossilva

    That “undecided” part is so true! Great to see this out there. I can’t give it a try, since it’s not available outside of the US, but I’m eager for them to release it in other countries!

  • thechad

    Looks cool

  • 94wolfpack

    They are probably on the up and up but their privacy policy makes me hesitate.

    • 94wolfpack

      This may be common place for most web services (facebook, gmail etc) but seeing it spelled out is illuminating:

      “We collect and store any information you provide to our Services or that the Services send to us. As used herein, “Personal Information” means your device id, any information that identifies you, or any information that is required to be treated as “personal information” under applicable law and regulation, including, but not limited to, your name, email address, phone number, birthday, and usernames for your Twitter®, Facebook® and/or other accounts. We automatically receive your device ID when you use the Services and we associate this device id with all of your activity, submissions, information, and profile. “…

  • raichleb

    With all the holiday travel coming up, this is perfect timing. I love using apps like this to find places I would otherwise drive right by.

  • BigCiX

    I’ll be using this come friday when im in Anaheim.

  • damambt

    read user agreement before using. alfred pretty much wants to be all over your system without limitations.

  • Marcus

    I downloaded the app. Its pretty Co and I like the idea, but I’m not really into that stuff. I live in a small community with little restaurants. Lol. Its pretty awesome though

  • kungpaodragon

    It’s kinda hard to ask an app to make suggestions for you without telling it what you like… Ergh…

  • romy134

    App in the bag

  • malckier

    No. Seriously. Read what they collect:

  • Louis A

    Pretty nice, trying it out later on.

  • Ilyse Rose

    Looks interesting, I’m going to give it a shot.

  • cmorris

    I am definitely going to try this guy out.

  • ramenchef

    I’m liking what I’ve tried so far. This is probably going to be integrated into Jelly Bean and it’s voice controls I’m guessing.

  • Peter Dowling

    I like the concept, just not practical for my lifestyle (college student)

  • Blaw

    Downloading to check it out. Thanks for the info.

  • Jason Corry

    This looks really good. I told the wife to install this since she never knows where to go eat!

  • Billy

    Downloading … Can’t wait to try it out.

  • Joseph Banks

    would be a bigger hit if it was named Benson. lol. i’ll DL anyways

  • Hall Lo

    This is just like my friends and me xD but too bad the app isn’t available in Canada yet :(…. so wanna give it a try

  • eliander mendoza

    WOW Google made the right move on this one. Its one fantastic app to use when my girl ask me to take her out for dinner :)

    Thanks Google we love what you do!!!

  • Marc’us H.

    I love seeing apps like this that you know have a lot of potential. Like Jamal said above, you hope this gets paired with something like Majel or another kind of Google app that just makes it an absolute “must-have”.

  • humidity

    Can’t wait to see what Google has in store for us with Majel!

  • spintrex

    Maybe Majel will become an update?

    • spintrex

      Just downloaded… this is going to solve a many of those indecisive nights that end up at a fast food joint…

  • Safa

    Doh… Not available in Australia… dont get anything cool… :(

  • j

    Please, someone up the apk

  • Gazos

    This will definitely do for my indecisive wifey!

  • Jbolen818

    Looks pretty cool so far. Curious to see how much better it gets as time goes along.

    • donger

      awesome, this is cool

  • simofacc

    I might try this out just to see how the application works, but since I live in Malta(Europe) I don’t think this will work pretty well :)

  • HoLfElDeR

    Not bad, not bad at all

  • hatersontherocks

    Answer to Siri I can’t even make it talk well from what I tried to do with it ha but its pretty neat.

  • Jhall222

    Sounds awesome!! Cant wait to try it out.

  • jefflarkin

    I could see using something like this on my next trip.

  •!/profile.php?id=583695634&ref=profile rahuly2k7

    Gotta download this app.. It seems like a great app.

  • Jimmy13

    Definitely a cool find!

  • lancaster09

    AI apps rock when they are well developed… I’ll download it tonight. In the military its hard to move to a new place and find all the good restaurants and hang outs. I could definitely see myself using this a lot.

  • dfmckay

    Google seams to be in the front running of a complete and useful mobile recommendation engine, some will complain that they collect too much info but imo its a good thing.

  • xwaylayx

    whats the over – under before Majel becomes self aware?

  • Thomas Biard

    Love this app! So brilliant. I don’t care to have a universal “assistant” with a girl’s name if I can have finely tuned individual apps that will help me with less frustration.

  • PlanetJ

    I finally got it.
    Uploaded it here for the rest of you.

  • richoid

    Going to try this one out when I get home later!

  • Jimmy13

    So I have answered like 150 questions and I am at 63% lol

  • zippyioa

    Will have to carry on life without it as I’m in the UK :(

  • sgumer

    an ai app. that sounds really cool. no wonder google jumped all over it. i will have to check it out depending on the cost.

  • ashley1969

    Hey Google, don’t let iPhone users have access to this, unless you charge them $10,000 each. You even had the iPhone in the video to let dumb iPhone users know it will work for them.