TECHNOLOGY GIANT Google is apparently working on a Siri rival that is called Majel and could be released this year.
The voice recognition software has been named after Majel Barrett-Roddenberry who voiced the computer in Star Trek. There isn't much of 2011 left but it could be released before the year is up.
Majel will aim to be better than Apple's Siri, which was introduced with the Iphone 4S smartphone. It will enable users to perform tasks and interact with the device in natural language like Siri, according to Androidandme.
The web site quotes a Google employee named Ted, who said, "It's definitely as good, or better, than Siri. At least on the tablet you can sort through different answers with these swipe-able trays. Like, if you say 'show me the Statue of Liberty' it'll automatically take you to Google Image results, but another tray beneath it might be its location on Google Maps and then another tray might have a Wikipedia page."
"It's also pretty good at giving you succinct answers if you ask it a question. The UI is definitely more powerful than Siri's, even if a little harder to navigate."
The most interesting element is the location based functionality which Siri is lacking in the UK.
A second anonymous Google employee said, "Speech recognition is somewhat better than what you would get with normal speech input, mostly because of the use of high quality microphones and lip-reading assistance."
"I have had the chance to interact with the robot personally and it is honestly the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. I like to think of it like Stephen Hawking because it is extremely smart and you can interact with it naturally, but it is incapable of physically doing much. There is a planned phase two for development of an advanced robotics platform."
We've contacted Google for its side of the story but have heard nothing back yet. Google is clearly working on bettering Siri but whether Star Trek style software will appear is unclear. µ