TechCrunch is reporting that Google has a new service in the works called Google Assistant, which users will be able to speak with to get answers, search results, and more. The "do engine" sounds like a Siri competitor, but, it's rumored that Assistant won't just be a standalone app; apparently there are plans to release an API for developers to integrate Assistant into all sorts of apps. Another major difference is that Google would control all of the elements that make the service run: knowledge would come from company's search engine, and personalized results and analysis would come from data mined from services like Google+.

According to the rumors, this is a major new product for Google. Supposedly it's not some experiment cooked up in someone's free time, nor is it coming from the secret Google X Laboratory like the previously-rumored "Majel" voice recognition app — instead, the project is being led by the Android team, and it is being touted as the focus of 2012 much like social and Google+ was the focus of 2011. An anonymous source tells the blog that Google Assistant is to be announced sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, but you know we'll keep our ears close to the ground for more information as it comes out.