Ever since Apple launched the iPhone 4S with its Siri personal assistant software built it, there has been an expectation that Google would follow suit and put a similar feature into Android. Back in December there were rumors that Google’s Siri competitor – codenamed Majel after Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the actress who voiced the computer on Star Trek – might be out before the end of the year.
Of course, that never happened. A later report said that Google’s Siri competitor would be called Assistant, but didn’t give any time frame for release. Whatever the time frame, though, Google may be trying to speed things up. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is accelerating the development of Assistant, though again there is no clear time frame.
Naturally, Google hasn’t confirmed whether they’re really stepping up Assistant’s development (a request for comment hasn’t yet been returned). In fact, they haven’t even confirmed that they’re developing such software at all. Nevertheless, it’s a safe bet that they are, and given the changes to iOS that Apple announced at their WWDC 2012 keynote last week – including a revamped, Google-less Maps app and improvements to Siri – Google has every reason to step on the gas.
If Google is planning to launch their own Siri-like software for Android, the most logical way to do it would be to bundle it in to Android 5.0 Jelly Bean, which rumor suggests will be unveiled at the Google I/O conference later this month.