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Meet Majel, Siri’s Fiercest Match

A match made in heaven
December 16, 2011


If there’s one thing tempting us to convert to the iPhone 4S, it would be Siri—the featured voice-activated personal assistant on the device. Well, almost.

Before we could even wipe away the saliva from our faces (yes, we do admit it’s a really cool feature we’re jealous of), we received word that Android will be having its very own rival to Siri. This time, our own assistant has been called Majel, relating to Majel Barrett-Roddenberry who, for many die hard Star Trek fans remember as the voice of the Federation Computer. Beat that iPhone 4S!

In theory, Majel is actually ‘an evolution of Google’s Voice Actions that is currently available on most Android phones with the addition of natural language processing.’ Unlike Voice Actions (who only follows specific commands), Majel allows its user to perform certain actions in a natural language much similar the way Siri operates.

There is much reason to believe that the initial release of Majel into the wild will include Google search queries. However, the more complex actions such as controlling apps and the device, will come in a later update.

Referring to an earlier statement by Google’s Matias Duarte, Majel describe the feature as:

“Our approach is more like Star trek, right, starship Enterprise; every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just Computer.”

Well, who wouldn’t be amazed at that? Targeting Siri, who Apple has clearly developed to have its own character, Majel does not need to be anything else except a computerized personal assistant you can bring anywhere with you—even to the restroom!

The feature will most likely be available in the next couple of months.


A bit of trivia: Majel Barrett-Roddenberry is the only actress to take part in all of the six Star Trek TV series. Apart from playing the voice of the federation computer, she also played Nurse Christine Chapel, Number One, Lwaxana Troi, the narrator, and more. She is also the voice behind Union Pacific’s automated railroad-defect detectors, as well as many others. To this date, her voice can still be heard on different railroad radio channels throughout the US.