China’s top search engine Baidu has announced a new Siri-like project called Duer at its annual corporate conference today. The new feature will be added to the 6.8 update of Baidu’s mobile app.
Duer is a voice-enabled virtual assistant that helps users with a range of commands. Different from cutie chatbots available on the market, Duer is positioned as a professional searching service power-packed with multiple practical functions, said Baidu’s CEO Robin Li.
The CEO summed up the new projects features in three element; accessibility to services across a wide range of industries, a powerful search engine supported by data mining technology and smart human-machine interaction.
“Supported by our search engine and big data technology, Duer is going to bridge the information gap between customers and merchants. The elimination of this gap is going to facilitate users and bring more traffic to businesses,” said Robin.
Over the past year, Baidu has made concerted efforts to develop a service ecosystem that covers nearly every aspect of our lives from travel, restaurants reservation, transportation, education and medical care.
Duer now provides a personalized assistant service under three scenarios for selecting restaurants, films and pets-related services with deep integration from Baidu Maps and Baidu’s group-buying service Nuomi. It will soon expand to more fields, including beauty services, driving services, education, healthcare and finance.
Although Duer debuted as a feature embedded in Baidu’s mobile app, the search engine is opening the service to its partners in the future, helping them to enhance user experience. The company is also considering the possibility of developing an independent app or making a Duer robot.
The project is one of the first to come out of Baidu Brain, an artificial intelligence project that is led by ex-Google Brain head Andrew Ng.
Image credit: Baidu