You may have thought that Siri, the voice activated virtual assistant on every iPhone since the 4S, was developed entirely by Apple. You would be wrong.
Siri was actually an independent project by Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer. It was even available in the Apple App Store for a while, as a standalone program. Obviously Apple liked it, bought the company in 2010, and adapted Siri to become a major part of their mobile operating system.
Siri has become more and more useful over the years, as Apple continues to improve what the AI can do for you. But her original creators are coming out with what they claim is an even better version, named Viv.
According to the Washington Post, Viv has been in development for roughly four years. It will strive to be the next generation in virtual assistants, surpassing the usefulness of competing software like Siri, Google Now, Cortana (Microsoft), or Alexa (Amazon). While those existing services can only respond to a certain set of commands, Viv aims to be more flexible in its ability to hold a regular conversation.
“It’s about taking the way that humans have naturally interacted with each other for thousands of years and applying that to the way they interact with services,” said Kittlaus, Viv’s chief executive. “Everyone knows how to hold a conversation.”
Viv will be publicly demonstrated for the first time next week, although there is no word on how or when it might be available to regular smartphone users. Apple and Google already have competing products, and Viv doesn’t seem to be for sale.
“Our goal is ubiquity,” Kittlaus said. “There’s no way to predict where that goes except to say we’ll pick the path that gets us there. Either way, we will finish the job.”