[Updated] Yahoo Google Now / Siri like voice-controlled assistant may be in the works

by: Chris SmithDecember 18, 2013

Yahoo Google Now / Siri Voice Assistant

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.

Yahoo! Voice Assistant par lamIaml

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.

Yahoo Google Now / Siri Voice Assistant

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.

  • AndroidBoss

    Why did they have to bother?

    • icyrock1

      Because competition is always good?

      • Mayoo

        I agree that competition is always good in general. But I don’t think McDonald’s fears me when I do my own burgers. Just a way of saying that they don’t bring enough competition for the others to bother.

        Unless they come up with something better than GNow and Siri. Then we’ll see, but I highly doubt it.

        • icyrock1

          Bad comparison, lol. Especially since McDonald’s burgers are horrible. While home made ones are normally much better (made of better meat, high quality, etc).

          Competition is a foster of new ideas and improvements in competitors. There’s a likely opportunity some OEM will team up with them to bundle it in there devices (much like BlackBerry Messenger got).

      • AbbyZFresh

        There is NO competition at all. Not even close. Even Siri can give this Yahoo voice assistant a run for its money.

        • icyrock1


          It’s not even out yet.

        • MrMagoo

          I still don’t understand why people do this. You do know the “EXACT” same thing was said about Google and Android when it all started….You never know what could happen next. Yahoo could be built right into Tizen…. you just never know. I really shouldn’t have to say any more. :-P

          • icyrock1

            This. Android started out has the small guy. Putting down potential competition who could release a potentially great product is against what the Android Community has stood for.

          • MrMagoo

            Oh I’m agreeing with you… I’m basically saying the same thing. “This” was refering to how people bash things, giving them no credibility of any kind, and take it personally that anyone would even attempt challanging the “MASTERS” so to speak. Yahoo is still an enormous company with a huge following and could do some major damage if underestimated! I’m saying whenever a new phone comes out or something that might challange the likes of Android, people take it as an insult and take it personally. And for the record, I’m a huge Android fan and am on my 5th Android phone, a G2 which I am in love with!

      • Shark Bait

        It is indeed, if it keeps pressuring google to do better, thennits good for us!

  • MasterMuffin

    Do people really use voice assistants so much that everyone has to make one?…

    • NeedName

      if they don’t now they will in the future, especially for hands free driving which is quickly becoming the only legal way to drive in the united states. However, I’m not a big fan of it trying to know everything about me.

      I didn’t use much voice activated stuff on Android a couple years ago, but then made a concerted effort to use it as much as possible, and I found that after getting accustomed to using voice it became my normal mode of using the device, and the assistant features just make it handier/easier for many things.

      • MasterMuffin

        Only scenario I can think of where these could be useful is driving and cooking, but these really don’t work so well with smaller languages like Finnish

        • NeedName

          yeah, you pretty much have to be a US west coast white male for it to work near perfect.

      • AbbyZFresh

        hands free driving?

        • NeedName

          lol. . yes, sounds like you are driving without your hands. it actually means, your hands are free to drive and not using something else, like a phone.

          hey, I didn’t make the phrase up :)

    • Mohammed Sahib

      I am all for an ‘intelligent’ and ‘useful’ assistant that ‘works in my country’ while ‘not draining my battery life’. Everything between the ‘ ‘ is missing in all virtual assistant right now.

    • Mike Reid

      I don’t think so.

      But it’s “sexy” and the latest thing, so everybody has to have one and generate press/buzz.

      Same with every company needing a website (dinky or not) in the 2000’s and a mobile app (of some sort) in the 2010’s.

  • AbbyZFresh

    Wow. Just Wow.

    Yahoo knows very well they will NEVER be able to match Google Now(or even Siri to an extent). One thing the other two has over Yahoo is OS level integration.

  • Jayfeather787

    I still think google now is the best, but it is great to see other companies trying to develop something similar. This is benefit the consumer in that he/she will now have a choice. Choices are good.

  • NeedName

    “Update: According to TechCrunch, who has a source “familiar with Yahoo’s internal projects,” the video doesn’t depict a real Yahoo! product, in progress or otherwise. At this point we can’t verify absolutely whether the product is real, fake, imagined, or in progress, but even the Android Police can be tricked now and then. We’ll keep you updated if we learn more.”


    source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/18/that-yahoo-sirigoogle-now-competitor-video-is-not-a-yahoo-product/