By Prankur Garg
Siri may be synonymous with the words ”digital assistant,” but Apple’s sassy assistant will soon have a lot more competition and its going to come from same people who first created Siri in 2007.
Viv, a new AI-powered assistant app, just made its formal public debut and it looks like the app will be well worth the wait. Dag Kittlaus, the company’s CEO and one of the original Siri cofounders, took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York on Monday to show off the assistant in company’s first public demonstration of the app. Kittlaus also showed off integration with Venmo that allows user to send money with just one sentence.
Notably this is not the first time we’ve have see a personal assistant app that’s able to do a lot more than Siri and even Google now. In fact, Viv’s is very similar to hound, the intelligent assistant app created by SoundHound. Hound, which launched back in March, can also understand similarly complex queries and also has a developer platform third-parties can plug into. And unlike Viv, Hound is available now. Even so, Kittlaus offered a small peak at technology that makes Viv work, and it goes a long way towards explaining why the app has garnered so much pre-launch hype.
Viv is powered by new technology called “dynamic program generation”. The technology, which Viv’s founder described as “a computer science breakthrough,” is software that can essentially write itself in less than a second, according to Kittlaus. What this means, he says, is that Viv can grow and learn more quickly than other assistant platforms.
While all that sounds pretty impressive, the real test, of course, will come when Viv formally launches to consumers and developers. And it’s still not clear exactly when, or how, the company plans to launch Viv.
Kittlaus said on Monday that the plan is to begin a “rolling launch toward the end of the year” that will include “phone apps and other things that we are working on with partners,” so it sounds like the company’s plan could include hardware devices and mobile apps.
Of course, Google and Apple are also investing heavily in their own AI technology and their assistants, which have a distinct advantage over android and IOS, respectively, and are likely to improve with new advancements. So it’s unlikely that Viv will replace either one overnight. Either way we hope Siri is taking notes.