Maluuba, a startup that has developed a Siri-like app for Android, has released the first Alpha of its natural language API, called nAPI.
Maluuba's own app, also called Maluuba, launched in September and according Frederic Lardinois on TechCruch is:
"the closest thing I’ve seen to a viable Siri competitor on Android. In many ways".
Lardinois continues by explaining that Maluuba is actually more reminiscent of Siri before Apple bought it as it features a “do engine” that ties in with numerous third-party services. Maluuba, just like Siri, also allows you to set up meetings, alarms and location-based reminders and the app ties in tightly with your Google Calendar account, for example.
Now Maluuba is opening up access to nAPI, its natural language API, inviting other developers to create apps with it:
Imagine you’re developing an app to find restaurants nearby. You have a standard UI using traditional buttons and windows but you’d like to make it easier for your users to get to the heart of your application. Using Maluuba’s nAPI you could allow your users to simply ask what they’re in the mood for. nAPI can take in their search queries and provide you with very deep semantic information. As an example, a user could say “Get me a table for 2 at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco” and nAPI will do the hard work of understanding and parsing out all of the relevant parts of their search. You’ll be provided with the intent “reserve table”, the number of people for the reservation as “2”, the type of restaurant as “Italian”, and the location as “San Francisco”.
This API supports 22 different feature domains (such as restaurants, entertainment, calendar, etc.) and around 50 different intents/actions and this video gives more ideas of what you might do with a natural language API in your own apps.
Although this is referred to as a "public release" you can't just download it but you can send an email to request access. It seems a fairly reasonable move on the part of Maluuba to approve its initial partners. But the more developers they can get working on the platform, the better for Maluuba’s API in the long-term.