May 5th, 2016

We were longing for competent voice assistant services back when Siri was first launched. Google delivered the first major competition with Google Now, and efforts from Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon have led to a healthy pool of competition to drive the scene even further.

But one team still seems to think we lack a truly open and platform-agnostic solution, and they want to change that. Viv Labs is that team, and their credentials are very interesting: a third of their engineers were behind Apple’s Siri.


Viv Labs is expected to announce their own take on AI-driven assistance on Monday, according to the Washington Post. What can they possibly do better than anything else available right now?

Their dream is interoperability with anything you can imagine. They want you to be able to order a Domino’s pizza just by saying “order me a 5-cheese pizza” and doing nothing more. They want you to hail an uber by saying “I need a ride.” As you may know, Amazon’s Alexa platform is the most recent to try this more natural and automatic approach.

But for Viv, it’s not enough to just order it. With Viv, you could branch off into subcommands to let you change your order or request without having to go through monotonous repetition. After asking it to order the pizza, you could say “actually, add pepperoni,” and you can expect those little red circles of joy to be atop your cheese pie when it finally does arrive.

These guys apparently know something the others don’t, because they were approached by both Google and Facebook with acquisition offers. Having that kind of attention from Silicon Valley adds a whole lot of credence to the thought they have a game changer on their hands.


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