I had a good conversation with Google’s Johan Schalkwyk last week at Speechtek, 2012, in NYC, on how Google perceives its Voice Assistant differently from the way Apple has positioned and framed Siri. It was just after his panel participation (Intelligent Voice Assistants, Part II: Achieving the Vision) and I boiled down my point with him on the rumor that Google is preparing to launch Majel. “So, should I advertise that Google is NOT coming out with anything called Majel?” His answer was non-committing: he didn’t say no, even though he had argued vehemently a few minutes earlier that Google doesn’t believe in naming assistants, because such naming comes with all kind of unhelpful, counter-productive anthropomorphizing. Not his words, but the point was clear: you don’t name your keyboard, so why should you name your voice interface. Made my usual quick point that language is innately human and you can’t really get around the problem of anthropomorphizing as soon as the thing starts talking to you. Johan seemed to grasp the point well enough, but insisted that Google gives its projects internal code names and that such names do not always translate to Marketing product names….. We shall see.