Google’s Plan To Compete With Apple’s Multi-Platform Siri? Google “Assistant”

The tech world woke up today to reports of an imminent Apple TV, as Apple works to solidify deals with content providers. The rumored television product could indeed be ground-breaking, not just for television, but for computing as a whole. We’re hearing exactly what Nick Bilton reported earlier this year, that Apple is going to integrate Siri into Apple TV as well as other iOS devices.

In fact a multi-platform Siri could be unveiled as early as next week, when Apple announces the iPad 3.

Hardcore right? Well our friends over in Mountain View, never ones to miss out on an opportunity to compete, have come up with their own answer to Siri, Google ‘Assistant’ (earlier reports had it pegged as ‘Majel,‘ I have no idea whether that name was scrapped but do know that ‘Assistant’ is not a part of GoogleX as Majel was).

Google has had the in-house voice technology for ages — it hired Mike Cohen, the guy who started Nuance. But ‘Assistant’ is set to go beyond Siri in many ways, most importantly in that the search company will retain complete control of all the layers involved.

The project, helmed by the Android team with the involvement of search engineer Amit Singhal, has three parts according to a source.

1) Get the world’s knowledge into a format a computer can understand.

2) Create a personalization layer — Experiments like Google +1 and Google+ are Google’s way of gathering data on precisely how people interact with content.

3) Build a mobile, voice-centered “Do engine” (‘Assistant’) that’s less about returning search results and more about accomplishing real-life goals.

Unlike Apple with Siri, Google is planning on extending this service to developers so they can build novel things. Imagine the possibilities for apps, websites, etc interested in hooking into ‘Assistant’?

From what I know, Google has now set its ambitions beyond social and is focused wholeheartedly on building this “Do engine,” or goal oriented search: 2011 was the year of social for Google. 2012 is the year of ‘Assistant.’

According to one source, Google higher-ups plan on unveiling the ‘Assistant’ product by the fourth quarter of 2012, though they themselves are uncertain. Because our details are sparse for now, the fact that we might be missing a huge piece of this puzzle is also a possibility.

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Image: Warren Goldswain