Android specific voice based personal assistant, Maluuba has launched its service in India (app link).
Maluuba claims to have built an advanced voice activated ‘do engine’ that enables users to speak naturally to their Android smart phones and get things done. Using the complete version, users in India can now ask questions pertaining to movie/restaurant searches in India (e.g. “I want to watch Student of the Year in Koramangala”); and Maluuba would understand the context and location of the user’s query and return a set of appropriate movie theatres and showtimes.
Although Maluuba is similar to Apple’s Siri in the fact that it recognizes voice queries, it has marked interface and design differences [key difference is that Maluuba doesn’t talk back to you – it just gives direct results in a clean interface].
“When we launched our international beta last month, we found out that the largest proportion of our users came from India. We realized that India has a growing market of Android users and we wanted to release a full version here to give users in India the complete experience. Further, most people in India cannot use Siri since iPhones are expensive, hence this would give the Android users a chance to start adopting the new voice based search paradigm”. [Maluuba’s CEO, Sam Pasupalak]
Maluuba currently supports 18 different categories ranging from entertainment (restaurants, movies, local events, music) to social (Facebook, Twitter) to organization (calendar, call, email). In order to provide all the above information, Maluuba has partnered with content providers like Yelp, Google Places, Wolfram Alpha, Youtube, Facebook, Wikipedia and more.
Voice recognition in India?
Thanks to multiple accents, none of the players have managed to crack the voice recognition market in India (Google shut down its automated call center). I tried Maluuba and apart from the fact that you are totally impressed with the user experience, the service surely worked for some of the standard queries (but for sure, the team needs local content partnerships in order to remain relevant/detailed review later).
Maluuba’s key strength lies in the fact that the product uses dynamic artificial intelligence processes to grow smarter automatically, without training from language experts. So the more people use Maluuba, the smarter the system will become.
But what about Indian keywords?
“When we were preparing to launch in India, we consulted with people from the area to update our language models to include the proper pairing and definitions of terms. We added terms like “butter chicken” and “aloo gobi” to the restaurant set to ensure we could match those for food queries.” mentions Maluuba team.
As for speech recognition is concerned, Maluuba has integrated Google’s Android speech engine into the app [hop to App Settings and you can change your language model to “English (India)” for best results].
Do give Maluuba a spin and share your comments – is this dependable?
Aside, Iris, the India based Siri competitor for Android definitely has got a tough competition back home (fyi: Iris powers Micromax’s devices).