On Tuesday Google said it had acquired the tech company that has developed Alfred, a smartphone app that acts as a “personal assistant” to make recommendations based on your interests and your “context,” such as location, time of day, intent and social information.
According to Clever Sense, the company that created Alfred and that is now part of Google, the app uses artificial intelligence technology to sift through the Web’s vast amount of data and to recommend restaurants, bars and other real-world places that you might like.
That sounds a lot like Siri, the personal assistant technology that comes built-in to Apple latest iPhone. Siri offers a much broader range of capabilities than those that appear to currently be available with Alfred, allowing users to speak into their phone to manage their calendars, find nearby restaurants and even inquire about the weather.
But Alfred’s AI recommendation technology could provide an important building-block that Google could pair with its existing voice-recognition technology to create its own answer to Siri.
Google’s head of mobile Andy Rubin famously dissed Siri at the AsiaD conference in October, saying that “I don’t believe that your phone should be your assistant.”