Google is working on a rival to Apple’s Siri software that could be with us before the New Year, according to reports.
Android blog AndroidandMe reports that the program, codenamed ‘Majel’ is currently in development and could be launched as a direct rival to Apple’s Siri by the end of 2011.
The app, which takes its name from Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, better known as the voice of the Federation Computer from Star Trek, is thought to be an evolution of Google’s Voice Actions, currently available on most Android handsets.
However, Majel is expected to add natural language processing to the software, putting it in direct competition with Siri. Where voice action requires users to make specific voice commands, such as “send text to” Majel will allow you to perform actions in their natural language, such as “tell my wife that…”.
Majel is also expected to place a greater focus on web search than Siri, which is currently unable to retrieve search results for businesses, navigation and services for users outside the US.
AndroidandMe reports that engineers at Google X, Google’s special ideas lab, are working “round the clock” to get the update out before the end of 2011, although a January / early February release is more likely.