Maluuba: An Android Voice Assistant to Rival Siri

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had their own personal assistant? They could keep track of your daily schedule, look stuff up for you, and, in a perfect world, even run out to grab a cup of coffee for you. Maluuba is the Android version of a personal assistant and it can do pretty much anything a real personal assistant can do, except maybe the coffee.

Ever since Apple embraced its own voice assistant Siri, there have been several “Siri alternatives” released in the Play Store. Finding a good one though has been quite difficult, until Maluuba entered the scene as worthy contender. Like Siri, it falls under the “voice assistant” category, because it has the ability to listen to your voice and respond accordingly. Maluuba’s website breaks down the app’s ability into three categories: search, organize, and connect. Having used it extensively for several months, I will take a detailed look at each of these aspects.


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Search – Awesome Research Assistant

Searching for answers, almost any kind, becomes a breeze with Maluuba. You could be looking for anything from the current weather to the nearest pizza joint. There are two methods of finding what you need to: voice search and explore.

Voice search

One of the awesome things about Maluuba is the voice search feature. It has the skill to listen to the spoken word and discern an answer. Phrases like “What’s the weather going to be like today?” and “Where’s the closest pizza place?” will bring the exact results you would hope for.

Maluuba - Voice search results - pizza

Maluuba – Voice Search – Pizza

You can ask Maluuba random questions and it draws from Wolfram-Alpha, a very extensive knowledge base, to find a suitable answer for you. If you aren’t happy with the results, you can just as easily search Wikipedia and the other search engines for a second opinion. Here are the results when you ask it “Who was the first president of the United States?”

Maluuba - Voice Search - First president of the United States

Maluuba – Voice Search – First president

It’s also worth noting that the voice function will also let you do some other actions such as open apps and email or text people in your contacts. Believe me, when I learned that, much time was spent trying it over and over and being amazed every time.

Explore

If you’d rather not use your voice but instead would like to do a little browsing to find what you need, Maluuba can cope. The UI design will probably remind you of a Windows 8 device, but believe me, it still works well. All you have to do is open the Maluuba app and swipe from side to side until you are in the “Explore” section.

Maluuba - explore

Maluuba – Explore

From here you can browse for such things as local businesses and restaurants as well as weather and sports scores. Everything’s just a click away and easy to find.

Organize – Keeps Life in Order

If you’ve been looking for an app that will let you use your voice to keep you organized, Maluuba’s got you covered. To add an event to your calendar — and yes, you can sync it to your Google calendar — simply say something like “Schedule doctor appoint on April sixteenth at 3:00 PM” and voilà! You can also set an alarm very quickly using your voice. “Wake me up at 6 AM” and you’re good to go.

Maluuba - alarm set

Maluuba – Alarm set

Finally, you can ask Maluuba to remind you of tasks or events. Maybe you want to remember to pick up milk on the way home after work. Just say, “Remind me to pick up milk in an hour.” It’s almost like setting an alarm but it adds text to give more details as to what’s going on.

Maluuba - reminder

Maluuba – reminder

You can browse all your appointments, birthdays, alarms and reminders in the “my day” section of the app.

Maluuba - My Day

Maluuba – My Day

Connect – Stay in Touch With the World

Maluuba can also help you stay connected with others. Pretty much anything you browse on Maluuba can be shared either through a social network like Facebook or directly to a contact through SMS, email or other apps.

There’s also a “connect” section to help you keep in touch directly with people. You can send tweets, Facebook updates, and SMS messages through Maluuba.

Maluuba - Connect

Maluuba – Connect

There are even helpful suggestions of what to say in order to make these connects via your voice. Knowing how Maluuba wants to hear things is helpful to know.

Conclusion

Maluuba really does a good job as an all-around voice assistance app. It makes it simple to use your voice to do many things with your device, such as open apps, call people, send Facebook updates, and add appointments and reminders to your daily itinerary. Does it manage to give Siri a run for its money? Yes and no.

How Maluuba Competes With Siri

Maluuba allows you to use your voice to do many tasks. In this way, it does a very good job at competing with Siri. You can seriously use your phone in a hands-free manner because of the app’s capabilities. The knowledge base it uses to draw answers to random questions is extensive as well.

How Maluuba Comes Short Compared to Siri

I hear Siri actually answers back… verbally. All the answers are actually spoken to you so you don’t have to look at your screen to read them — a handy feature when driving for example. Sorry, Android folks, Siri has the upper hand in the “your phone can somewhat converse with you” market!


Summary

Maluuba is an Android voice-controlled digital assistant similar in function to Apple's Siri.

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