Chinese internet search and maps provider Baidu introduced a voice-activated assistant for smartphones at Baidu World.
The “Duer” programme was added to Mobile Baidu, an app that runs on the Android or iOS plaforms. Both Google and Apple already offer their own artificial intelligence (AI) assistants, Google Now and Siri. Microsoft also has a virtual assistant called Cortana.
The assistant is designed to make recommendations, place orders, book flights as well as make actual purchases online. The app can also control smart devices around the home.
Baidu CEO Robin Li showed during a demo yesterday that Duer could be asked to find out which restaurants would allow dogs inside and then recommend one, PCWorld reported. It said Duer indexes data on various merchants across industries and can search through user reviews to find an answer for more specific inquiries.
The company plans to add Duer to its maps app and perhaps to the self-driving car the company is said to be developing with BMW, Engadget said.
Baidu announced in May it expanded its partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and Audi to give car owners more personalised connected-vehicle services.
Both companies said they will integrate Baidu’s CarLife, a smartphone-based in-car infotainment system, into their cars in China.
Baidu is one of the world’s five most visited websites and offers a wide range of web-based services.