Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa may soon face a new competitor: Viv.
Viv — created by the developers who crafted Siri and then sold it to Apple in 2010 — represents the next step in voice assistants, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. The new software, which is designed to handle tasks for you all on its own, will get a public demonstration at a tech conference Monday.
For example, Viv’s creators have used the software to order pizzas. When one of them starts placing the order, Viv asks if he would like toppings. Other engineers pipe in with their own requests. Viv asks more questions. In the end, four pizzas arrive with the right ingredients and without the team placing a phone call, doing a search or using an app.
Voice assistants have been catching on, offering a hands-free and more natural way to ask questions, find information and manage busy lives. Viv is just the latest in a string of virtual assistants that includes Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Now. But Viv’s creators say their software takes the concept further by understanding your requests and engaging in conversation with you to fulfill them.
Viv takes a page from Amazon’s Echo, a wireless speaker that responds to your questions and requests via the built-in Alexa voice assistant. Like Echo, Viv can directly integrate with third-party services, with 50 already onboard. So you tell Viv to hail an Uber car, order flowers from FTD and snag your next meal from Grubhub. Viv co-creator Dag Kittlaus told the Post he’s also chatting with car makers, TV companies and other media firms about integrating their products with Viv.
So far, Viv doesn’t exist as something that consumers can buy or use, but there are interested parties. Viv’s creators don’t yet know whether they’ll run with it themselves or sell it to another company, but they envision their creation as something that can be a part of our daily lives.
“Our goal is ubiquity,” Kittlaus told the Post. “There’s no way to predict where that goes except to say we’ll pick the path that gets us there. Either way, we will finish the job.”