Yahoo! last week announced a $10 million partnership with the Carnegie Mellon University over a project called InMind. It’s now being reported that this partnership could well end up building a Siri-like personal assistant.
MIT Technology Review has reported that through the course of development of InMind, Yahoo will give researchers and students from the Carnegie Mellon University access to a host of data and service’s from the company’s kitty. They will also get access to technology behind currently used services like Mail and News. The researchers will then be given the opportunity to develop new applications as extensions of these existing services. Subra Suresh, Carnegie Mellon’s president reportedly said at an event last week that InMind is aiming to be the next-gen personal agent that will guide users via their devices. Currently, personal assistants being developed have the benchmark of Apple’s Siri to live up to.
Yahoo! Labs’ head, Ron Brachman said that he expected InMind to experiment with apps capable of basic conversation, making the experience slightly better. For now, the likes of Siri can only answer questions and make wisecracks. InMind, however, will try to take conversing one step further by asking follow up questions and making new suggestions based on new information.
In the blog post announcing the partnership, Brachman had said that researchers at the University will be able to experiment with Yahoo’s real-time data services as well as get access to real user data and the opportunity to iterate rapidly on key technologies. “We like to think of this as part of a grand-scale living laboratory where researchers can explore new approaches to understanding human behavior through machine learning and interface technologies,” he wrote.
Can Marissa Mayer extend her magic to make a Yahoo! Siri happen?