02
Apr
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It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.

Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.

18
Dec
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Earlier today, we published a first look at what we believed to be a Yahoo!-made competitor to voice assistants like Google Now and Siri. The video, sent to us by an anonymous tipster along with screenshots showed what looked to be a very impressive app with an implementation similar to Facebook's Chat Heads, whereby a Y! icon would constantly float on the home screen waiting to be activated.

This evening, TechCrunch learned through a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects" that the app wasn't real, implying the video was nothing more than a really nice concept demo.

18
Dec
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Update 2: According to TechCrunch, and Co-Founder/CEO of natural language processing startup Robin Labs, the app is a real, functional product built on the startup's "white-label" voice assistant platform. While it was not commissioned by Yahoo!, it was created during ongoing discussions with the company. Read the full story here.

Update: According to TechCrunch, who has a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects," the video doesn't depict a real Yahoo!

24
Oct
dragonassistant

For years Nuance's Dragon served as a leader in the world of voice dictation and commands. More recently, though, as Google and Apple move in on the speech control world, the company has a more pressing need than ever to distinguish itself. Enter Dragon Mobile Assistant. This app aims to "expands the natural language understanding and artificial intelligence" of Dragon Go! and "[add] the most popular personal assistant features."

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At this point, most of our readers are probably aware of how voice assistants work.

15
Aug
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Another day, another Kickstarter project. This one actually looks like it could have potential, though. Ubi is an Android-powered speaker system that connects to your local WiFi network. The small black box plugs into a power outlet and is controlled primarily via voice. It comes equipped with colored LEDs for notifications, and an array of sensors including temperature, humidity, air pressure, and ambient light. To round out the specs, the box packs a full-size USB port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

16
Jul
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The uninformed consumer (read: not you, dear readers) may be forgiven for not realizing Google's voice search/voice assistant/Google Now thing is attempting to compete head-on with Siri, what with lacking a name and not being nearly as anthropomorphized. However, Google's voice powers are, indeed, aimed squarely at making the act of finding and using information far easier than Apple's automaton. In this video, the two go voice-to-voice and...okay, let's not beat around the bush.

09
Jul
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Endomondo, an extremely popular sports and exercise tracker got an update to version 8 today, bringing a handful of minor enhancements. Among these are improvements to routes, the option to like/dislike routes, and the addition and removal of favorite roots. More importantly though, version 8 brings a brand new UI, designed with Ice Cream Sandwich's legendary style guide in mind. Check out some screenshots:

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What's great about Endomondo's new UI is not only that it enhances the UX greatly and makes the app as a whole "prettier," but that it brings the app's design more into line with the Ice Cream Sandwich style guide, without making the mistake of following the idea that holo is everything.

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