Google could launch Assistant for iOS soon as a standalone app

After unveiling Assistant at Google I/O a year ago, the search giant is now expected to bring its AI conversational helper to iPhone and iPad in the form of a standalone app, AndroidPolice reported Monday. The app should be announced at Google's annual developers conference, which kicks off on Wednesday, May 17, at Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View in California.

Assistant for iOS will only be available in the US at launch, said a trusted source cited in the report. Assistant's SDK  was just made available to developers so bringing the app to Apple's mobile platform could encourage more developers to integrate with its functionality.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

The app would likely feature a blend of the "chat" style functionality in the Google Allo version of Assistant and the voice-controlled version found on Android, but again, details are scant.

Rather than roll out Assistant as a standalone app, Google could fold its functionality into the existing search app for iOS, which supports Google Now cards but not Assistant.

A company executive hinted two months ago that Google's general philosophy is that “we would like to have the Assistant available to as many people as possible.”

After debuting exclusively on Google's Pixel line of smartphones in October of last year, Google Assistant soon after made its way into into Google’s voice-activated speaker, called Home, the latest version of Android Wear and a few devices from third-party vendors.

It powers AI features in Google's messaging app Allo and will be at the heart of the new Android operating system for touchscreen car consoles and in-car infotainment systems.

You can expect the feature to become integrated over time into virtually every major device Google makes, as well as into its most important consumer-facing services and mobile apps.

Video showdown: Siri on iPhone 7 Plus vs. Google Assistant on Pixel XL

Siri continues to receive criticism over at times unreliable performance although Apple's been advancing its personal digital assistant by leaps and bounds since its debut in October 2011.

Google, on the other hand, is regularly praised for its powerful knowledge graph and accuracy.

You probably know that the search company's exciting new feature, Assistant, recently made its debut on the new Pixel smartphones.

With that in mind, YouTuber Marques Brownlee took it upon himself to pit the Pixel's Assistant against the iPhone's Siri in a cool side-by-side video comparison.

Let the battle of the smartphone voice assistants begin!

Tim Cook says Apple wants to use AI to boost iPhone battery life

iPhone 7 battery

Apple's boss Tim Cook traveled around Japan on a bullet train last week as part of his whirlwind tour of the country, his first visit since becoming CEO.

Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook expressed hope that Apple Pay will help realize a cashless society and hinted that the company's new research and development center in Yokohama, near Tokyo, would be “very different” from its Chinese R&D center as it would explore “deep engineering”.

He then said that Apple wants to use artificial intelligence to turbo charge the iPhone battery life.

Samsung buying Viv, the AI assistant developed by Siri creators

Samsung has agreed to acquire Viv, the next-gen AI assistant that was developed by Siri co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer. TechCrunch reports that it will continue to operate as an independent company, providing services to Samsung and its platforms.

Viv made numerous headlines earlier this year, when the team demonstrated the power of its assistant. In one scenario, it was able to successfully order a pizza over the Internet customized with toppings from several employees with a few simple voice commands.

Apple buys machine learning startup Tuplejump

Apple has acquired an India/US-based machine learning startup known as Tuplejump, reports TechCrunch. The company has essentially confirmed the buyout, offering up its typical "Apple buys smaller technology companies" statement.

This is the iPhone-maker's third publicly-known purchase of a machine learning company within the last year. Remember it bought out artificial intelligence startup Perceptio at the end of last year, and Seattle-based Turi a few months ago.

Steven Levy confirms that some of the data in Apple iBrain can be restored to a new phone

Journalist Steven Levy's excellent in-depth look at Apple's machine learning and artificial intelligence systems used throughout iOS and its other products have left some people wondering about transferring the so-called iBrain database to a new device. Apple told Levy that iBrain is local to a device and doesn't get sent to the cloud.

The explanation promoted some people to wonder if that means that iBrain has to start all over again after getting a new phone, and lose all memory of what it learned in the process. As it turns out, some of the information in that “brain” can indeed be restored and moved to a new device in a safe manner.

A fascinating look at how artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple

Respected journalist Steven Levy has scored another nice exclusive with a new write-up over at Backchannel, a Wired Media Group property, giving us a rare inside look at how artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple.

The article contains a lot of gems, with company executives Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller and Siri leads Tom Gruber and Alex Acero providing a bunch of previously unknown facts about Apple's AI efforts, including this one: machine learning has enabled Apple to cut Siri's error rate by a factor or two.

Apple acquires AI startup Turi for a reported $200 million

Apple has acquired machine learning and artificial intelligence startup Turi, reports GeekWire. Citing sources close to the deal, the outlet says the purchase price was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million, and the team will stay on and continue its work.

Turi, formerly Dato, builds platforms for developing intelligent applications using machine learning technology. Its products are used by a number of Fortune 500 companies for fraud detection, recommendation engines, lead scoring and other predictive capabilities.

Siri creators to introduce new AI assistant ‘Viv’ next week

The creators of Siri are preparing to introduce a new AI assistant on Monday, reports The Washington Post. It's called 'Viv,' and it's far more advanced than Siri, capable of handling complex tasks like purchasing movie tickets or ordering pizza, without the need to switch between apps or other human interaction.

Unlike most virtual assistants today, which can understand precise queries and issue scripted responses, Viv can imitate "the spontaneity and knowledge base of a human assistant." So with this technology, and third-party app integration from the likes of Uber and Grubhub, Viv is expected to impress next week.

Siri inventors working on next-gen AI assistant, Viv

Dag Kitt­laus and Adam Cheyer co-founded a SRI International spin-off in 2007. The startup eventually got acquired by Apple for its intelligent personal assistant technology which would later become (in)famously known as Siri.

But they haven't been standing still.

The co-founders of Siri are now taking the concept to the next level with Viv, a new breed of digital personal assistant which couples a myriad of data sources to next-generation artificial intelligence algorithms in order to do virtually anything you ask.

Viv's implications can't be overstated. And rather than sell out to the highest bidder, this time around the team has broad ambitions to rethink the future of intelligent agents while possibly giving birth to a multibillion-dollar industry.

An exhaustive feature published Tuesday by Wired explains how the new San Jose, California-headquartered startup, Viv Labs, plans on advancing artificial intelligence and taking over the world, why Viv eclipses Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Google Now and how it differs from literally every digital assistant out there...

Google buys AI startup DeepMind for $500 million

Google is getting closer to becoming SkyNet after laying its hands on artificial intelligence startup DeepMind Technologies for a reported $400 million, with some sources claiming as much as $500 million. According to a scoop by Re/code, a new project by former AllThingsD and WSJ journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, Google has confirmed the deal but wouldn't wouldn't specify a price...