Personal assistant technology is all the rage, and Samsung isn’t leaving anything on the table. The South Korean electronics titan is getting in on the act by acquiring Viv Labs, a startup company founded by the creators of Siri.
Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus took to popular blogging platform Medium to announce that Viv, which is based in San Jose, CA, is joining Samsung to accelerate the startup’s vision of next generation digital assistants.
Samsung will drastically accelerate our vision. For us, the glaringly obvious advantage Samsung brings to our vision is scale. - Dag Kittlaus
Reports circulated back in May of this year that Google and Facebook were also in talks with Viv for an acquisition deal. So, although neither Samsung nor Viv would disclose the price of acquisition, it would be safe to assume that Samsung’s bid was aggresive.
Samsung’s move could be seen as an attempt to go head-on with Apple and Google, who are both heavily invested in the virtual assistant space. Apple has been shoring up investments in Siri to make it accessible to as many apps as possible. Google, for its part, recently talked up its own Google Assistant as a significant leap in the digital assistant arena.
During Tuesday’s big event, Google highlighted Google Assistant for its new Pixel phones and other hardware products, including Google Home. Assistant is the culmination of years of R&D, and its close integration into the Pixel phones is a sign of greater things to come.
It’s not surprising, then, that Samsung would want to join the fray, even if it’s rather late in the game. With Viv, the company hopes it can achieve great things. Viv Labs has always billed its product as superior to Siri in terms of understanding context and situations. For example, a user does not need to launch a specific app to make hotel bookings. One only needs to tell Viv to make a hotel reservation and it will pull up a particular booking app.
Viv has a more extensive reach than Siri. It’s not restricted in mobile devices only, meaning it has many potential uses in other electronics like smart fridges and smart TVs. So what’s your take on Samsung’s acquisition of Viv? Let us know by dropping a comment below!