Sherpa, the popular natural language digital assistant Android app, is coming to Google Glass and other Android-based wearables the company announced today. Although there isn’t a firm timeline for rollout, Sherpa founder and CEO, Xabier Uribe-Etxebarría, tells me the company is looking to launch on Android-powered wearables by the end of 2013 or early 2014.
“We’re working very closely with other manufacturers for a richer experience to bring Sherpa to the next level,” said Uribe-Etxebarría. Though he wouldn’t say which manufacturers his company is working with he hinted that the companies involved were household names.
Because Google’s app acceptance process for Glass is more stringent than Android, it’s unclear how Sherpa will actually work, if and when it comes to Glass. But if it works anything like Sherpa on the smartphone now, you simply just need to launch the app and start yapping away. That, however, might not be ideal on Glass where the first voice activated input is waking the device up and asking it to perform some task for you.
When I asked Uribe-Etxebarría if they’ve tested Sherpa on Glass he said that “it’s worked really well” and they’re currently adapting screens and commands to better work with Glass.
Unlike other assistant apps like Siri, for example, Sherpa understands meaning and intent regardless of syntax or the language that it’s actually analysing. By building its own metalanguage with some 5000 rules and 250,000 semantic concepts and using Google’s speech API, Sherpa can figure out what it is you want regardless of what language it’s parsing. Not only that, the app hooks into other services like PayPal to send payments via voice commands. Its flexibility could be more useful on Glass than you think.
Launched in the US this past April, and in Spain last October, Sherpa has an astonishing 4.5-star rating in Google Play and has been downloaded more than 600,000 times worldwide. Next month, the app will get an update that includes more proactive notifications based on user habits that will serve up things like sports scores and birthday reminders.