[Updated] Yahoo Google Now / Siri like voice-controlled assistant may be in the works
Update – It turns out the Yahoo Google Now and/or Siri competitor doesn’t actually come from Yahoo!, but is a real prototype built by a startup called Robin Labs. See more here.
Yahoo may be working on its own version of Google Now / Siri for mobile devices, a voice-controlled application / assistant that would let users interact by voice with smartphones.
An anonymous tipster sent in the screenshots included in this post (above and below) a few days ago claiming that he or she has spotted them in some video footage. The video reportedly showed “a Siri-like personal concierge with a Yahoo logo, being tested by a driver in the car. Looks like it running on windshield-mounted Android phone and can be operated purely by voice. It looks like they are bringing the whole Yahoo portal into the phone by letting people access content and services by voice! “
However, a link to the actual video, or a copy of it was not provided at the time, but now it looks like Android Police has gotten a hold of one such Yahoo assistant videos. However, you’ll notice that in the short clip that follows, the “Cafe Claude” screen in the image above is not present, which means there may be more similar videos showing this new rumored Yahoo functionality.
Currently, Yahoo only has nine official mobile apps listed (see Source links below) of which only seven are available in the Google Play Store including Yahoo, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Search Application, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Fantasy Sports Football, Yahoo Weather and Flickr. Yahoo Screen and Yahoo Finance do not have Android app versions at this time.
None of the existing Yahoo Android apps look like the app shown in these screenshots and video. Except for the Yahoo Search application, which has a “voice search with Talk-back feature,” the other app do note have any voice features.
In case the images above are actually showing an Yahoo Android app that’s really in testing, then we may indeed be looking at some sort of virtual assistant-like app for Android devices. Furthermore, considering that Yahoo doesn’t have its own mobile OS, it would make sense to assume that the company would want to launch similar apps for iOS and Windows Phone devices.
As for the Google Now / Siri-like app in the screenshots above, we’re looking at an user interface that’s in a way similar to the information cards available in Google Now, while the Yahoo “button” seems to resemble Facebook’s chat heads, and automatically listen to user requests.
Moreover, Android Police reminds us that Yahoo has purchased SkyPhrase not too long ago, a natural language process startup whose technology may be behind this unnamed Yahoo assistant.
That said, does it make sense for Yahoo to integrate voice in its mobile products? Certainly! Will it do so in the near future? While these images and video seem interesting, that’s something yet to be determined.