Why Google's virtual assistant won't tell you jokes

Google Now Becomes Way More Useful With Support for 70 More Apps
Google Now Becomes Way More Useful With Support for 70 More Apps

Google may have a wild sense of humor when it comes to the silly Easter Eggs it hides inside many of its products, but you won't find its virtual assistant joking around.

Google Now, the company's equivalent to Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana, purposely avoids having any sort of personality, search executive Amit Singhal told Time's Victor Luckerson.

Singhal says that incorporating humor into voice assistants hints at artificial intelligence capabilities that just don't exist yet. He believes that it misleads users.

"I'm not saying personality shouldn't come, but the science to get that right doesn't fully exist," he says.

He then dropped a bit of a burn on Apple's Siri, which has a reputation for providing funny responses to questions like "Do you believe in God?" or "Do you have a boyfriend?"

"You've seen what happens in real life," he says. "That is interesting for a day or two, but then it kind of...loses its charm, let's say."

Singhal says that improving natural language processing is one of the big challenges to improving Now and Now On Tap — Google's companion service for Android phones which will scan users' screens to provide even more useful info. The better the virtual assistant can understand the meaning of a complex string of words, the better it can provide helpful answers.

To keep its search relevant in a world where people are increasingly looking for new, non-desktop ways to get information, Google sees expanding Now into more products that you use every day, like TVs or your refrigerator.

Read the rest of the interesting Time piece here.

Related: See more of Google's recent projects, including self-driving cars:

NOW WATCH: This incredible gun lets you quickly build large-scale 3D objects using nothing but tape

More from Business Insider:
How this Googler is trying to shake up Hollywood's idea of who an 'engineer' is
Why the 'moonshot project' that Google just launched could be such a big deal
YouTube is opening its wallet to protect video creators from legal threats

SEE ALSO: A 12-year-old beat out 16,000 other people to win a Google contest — 7 years later, she's a successful artist