Google Planning a Siri Competitor for Android, Codenamed 'Majel'

Google is working to expand the existing 'voice actions' functionality of its Android mobile platform into something that can compete on a level playing field with Apple's Siri, working on a new project rumoured to be named 'Majel.'

A name familiar to Star Trek fans as Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the actor who provided the voice for the Federation's voice-activated computer systems, Google's Majel will provide the first true competitor to what was known as the Siri Assistant before Apple bought its creators and turned the app into an iPhone 4S exclusive.

Although not confirmed by Google, Android and Me claims that the company's Majel project represents an evolution of the Voice Actions functionality already built into Android, and comes as the release of Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' adds improved 'always-on' voice recognition APIs to the mobile platform.

The rumour is given legs by the announcement today that Google has purchased start-up Clever Sense for an undisclosed sum, based on the company's Alfred app for restaurant recommendations. With Alfred taking the form of a location-sensitive Siri-like 'assistant,' it's not hard to see the purchase as a way to increase the functionality of Majel.

Thus far, Google has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of Project Majel, which is rumoured to be close to release.