Word on the street is that Google is planning to compete with Apple by coming out with its own Siri competitor. Called ‘Assistant’, the upcoming feature will bring a personalized, voice-centered ‘Do-engine’ to Android. Expected to release in fourth quarter of 2012, not much is known about it except from the fact that it will be more adept at finishing certain tasks rather than just searching for them. As we impatiently twiddle our thumbs for any official announcement to pop up from the search giant, we’ve come up with our own wish list for the exciting project. So, without much ado, here are six things we want from Android’s rumored Siri-competitor.
Should be Open: One of the reasons Siri and other Apple products are scoffed at by FOSS enthusiasts and even developers is that their technologies are closed. Android on the other hand is open-source and is always available for developers to expand upon. One important feature Assistant should have is that it should allow developers to create plug-ins which will tap into the potential of the upcoming technology. Furthermore, it should let other applications connect with Assistant and vice versa. And finally — this is just wishful thinking — it should be, if possible, completely open-source.
Should be more personal, yet in a less creepy way: It has always been Google’s endeavor to make technology as personal as possible, and Assistant, we hope, would adhere to that policy. Having said that, it shouldn’t infringe on the user’s privacy, as other Google products do. It should be personal, but it shouldn’t creep users out.
Should have tight integration with other Google services: It’s the blend of Google’s core web products and an amazing open-source mobile OS that makes Android what it is. Assistant too should have similar integration with core Google services like Gmail, Google Reader, Google Plus, and more. So, for example, if I wanted to check my mail on the go, I’d just ask assistant to read out my mail or my latest feeds on G+ and Reader. Similarly, if I wanted to launch an app, I’d simply say its and it would open instantly.
Shouldn’t be a Siri copy: What Google has –hopefully– learned from the ongoing patent war with Apple is that even copying or making something that’s inspired by an Apple product is asking for trouble. Moreover, it wouldn’t be a good idea to come up with something that’s so similar to Siri that people would start comparing Google to Redmond. If Assistant wants to make a mark in this domain, it has to have its own charm, and also, that uniqueness factor.
Should work across all versions of Android: When Ice Cream Sandwich was unveiled, Google was still struggling with Android’s fragmentation issues; and it still is. Some devices have ICS, many have Froyo, and many more have Gingerbread. If Assistant wants to be anywhere near successful, it has to work across all versions of Android, and not just ICS or Jelly Bean (Android 5.0). If Google is planning to make it an ICS- or JB-only feature, then it would be hard for them to take on a biggie like Siri.
Should be easy to access: On Apple, Siri is invoked by a simple long-press of the iPhone or iPad’s home button. Google, however, will have to design the feature keeping in mind the fact that some Android handsets have a home button and many don’t. So, it has to be something really easy to access, yet it should work seamlessly across all types of devices. It’s more important that users shouldn’t be fumbling all over while trying to access the app.
What do you want from Assistant?
So, that was our wish list for the much-awaited Siri-killer. What do YOU want or expect from Assistant?