Apple is beefing up its Boston office, with an aim to expanding its Siri voice recognition team. Documents filed with local authorities show that the company has leased around 11,500 square feet of office space on the 13th floor of One Broadway, an office tower owned by MIT and located on the outer perimeter of the university’s campus in Cambridge, MA.
The added space gives Apple room to bring in an extra 65 people to work on the project, although a local job search for the area doesn’t yet show anything.
Apple has been steadily growing its Siri team over the past few years — recruiting employees formerly from companies like AT&T Research, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, BBN Technologies and others for its speech team in Cambridge.
The area also has offices for tech companies including Microsoft and Google, whose offices dwarf Apple’s own in terms of employee numbers. Apple’s new office space was previously leased by Google.
There is every reason for Apple to expand its Siri team. Despite being the first company to popularize the concept of virtual assistants back in the late 1980s, and the first to bring a fully-realized speech-based personal assistant to smartphones in 2011, the last few years have seen Apple fall behind more intuitive systems like Google’s Google Now, while Microsoft’s Cortana is fast catching up.
If Apple wants to make up lost ground (and patents published by the company suggests that Siri is going to be an increasingly big part of plans going forward) it is sensible to pour resources into the Siri team as soon as possible.
Cambridge, MA is the perfect place to do this since it gives Apple the ability to snap up MIT-trained technicians in the area, while the Boston region features a number of speech recognition firms such as Nuance, who Apple can draw on for expertise.