Earlier today a video began circulating that showed what appeared to be a Yahoo project that would be aimed at the virtual assistant market currently dominated by Siri and Google Now. The video, which was posted earlier today by Android Police, shows a man driving around speaking to an app which recognizes his voice.
Update: TechCrunch tracked down the app — it’s real and was built by Robin Labs — but is still definitely not a Yahoo product. Check out the full story here.
We did some digging and sources familiar with Yahoo’s internal projects tell us that the video is fake. Whoever made it has some interesting ideas, and video making chops, but that’s about it.
Currently, Yahoo’s acquisitions are being integrated into its product teams very quickly, on an average time scale of weeks rather than months. The company has begun integrating people and technology at a fairly rapid clip, pointing to purpose-built acquisitions.
That’s why it didn’t seem too outlandish when the Android Police story mentioned Yahoo’s SkyPhrase acquisition as something that could be behind this kind of product. We’re not sure exactly what SkyPhrase is doing at Yahoo, but this project is not it — because it’s not a Yahoo project at all.
The video displays an app that hovers over the top of the Android home screen in a manner similar to Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads. We became suspicious of the video due to its seemingly amatuer-ish nature (we understand that most Yahoo project videos, even internal ones, are far more polished than this). The Yahoo logo is also incorrect, which led us to believe that someone had comped something together out of unofficial resources.
So, is Yahoo working on a virtual assistant project internally? Maybe. Is this video it? Nope. I’d personally welcome a large — somewhat agnostic — third party version of Google Now and Siri that worked everywhere without a platform agenda behind it. The more options the better.
An earlier version of this story said that the video was a ‘fake’, it has been amended to reflect the fact that it’s not an internal Yahoo product but that the app does exist.