Siri, the velvet-voiced iOS assistant that can give you directions, beatbox, do math and chat with you about Game of Thrones, is usually associated with Apple.
But Siri was not originally made by Apple; it was launched in 2007 by Stanford Research Institute as a spin-off company, led by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Tom Gruber, and was sold to Apple in 2010.
Six years later, Cheyer and Kittlaus are back with a new product called Viv which, according to the Washington Post, will be publicly demonstrated at an industry conference Monday.
Viv, which has been in development for several years and received $12.5 million in funding in February 2015, will be able to take things one step further than Siri — it will actually let you do stuff without ever touching your phone or downloading an app. Ordering a pizza from start to finish or getting an Uber car in front of your house are some of the examples (Siri can help you order a pizza, but you can’t actually finish the order without tapping something on your phone).
Washington Post’s report doesn’t offer many technical details on how Viv achieves this, but it does say Cheyer and Kittlaus have partnered with 50 companies, including Uber, Ivee, SeatGuru, Zocdoc and Grubhub.
While getting Viv to do your bidding based solely on voice commands is one thing, getting it on people’s smartphones is another. According to the report, Viv has already been courted by several companies, including Facebook and Google, but its founders remain ambiguous on whether they plan to sell or go it alone.
The virtual assistant landscape since Apple launched Siri has changed significantly. Google’s got its Google Now helper, Microsoft’s got Cortana, and Amazon has Alexa, who lives on a wireless speaker called Echo, completely bypassing the smartphone.
Cheyer and Kittlaus’ pedigree, however, instantly makes Viv a very hot player in the space, and we’re looking forward to learning more on Monday.