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Rumors suggest Majel could be Android's Siri, while Google buys Clever Sense

Rumors suggest Majel could be Android's Siri, while Google buys Clever Sense


On the same day that a report from Android and Me says that Google is hard at work on its answer to Siri, the company has acquired Clever Sense, the makers of the popular Alfred app which employs location data to recommend local bars, clubs and restaurants.

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Android and Me suggests that Google's answer to Siri is named Majel, and will be released early next year (if not sooner), with engineers at Google's X laboratory working "around the clock" on the new app. Majel will supposedly be the evolution of voice actions, which have been a part of Android since version 2.1 but currently lack the natural language interpretation of Siri — Android and Me says Majel will initially be limited to Google Searches, with more functionality to come. The name Majel is a reference to Majel Barrett-Rodenberry, Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry's wife and the voice of the ship's computer throughout the series. You might remember that back in October Matias Duarte described Android's approach to speech to text as "more like Star Trek, [...] everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just 'Computer.'" If the rumored name is correct, it seems like they've taken this to heart.

At the same time, Google has acquired Clever Sense, the developer behind the popular recommendation app Alfred. Siri's local intelligence is powered by Yelp, and the Clever Sense platform could help Google make the same recommendations: Alfred uses crowdsourced data and 'learns' your personal preferences in order to recommend the bars, restaurants, and clubs it thinks that you'll like. It's currently available for both iOS and Android, though it only works in the US for now. Combined with Google's purchase of Zagat earlier this year, it appears that Google's amassing a wealth of local intelligence — we'll see how it's used to compete with Yelp and Siri in the future.