Monday, October 17, 2011

I Got My Hands All Over Siri

From TechCrunch:

But wait. Voice technology has been around for a long time. Or, as one TechCrunch commentersuccinctly put it on Erick’s video demo post of Siri: “4 year old software, 8 year old technology.” ...
So if the stuff Siri is doing is old, and if others did do it FIRST, then why is everyone so damn excited about the feature?
There are a few reasons. But the simplest answer is one that has played out time and time again over the past several years: Apple did it right.

I got a chance to play with a Siri-enabled iPhone 4S over the weekend and, quite frankly, I was amazed. The speech recognition is simply amazing and the answers it gave were exactly what you wanted to know.  It's not perfect, of course.  There were times when Siri was stumped or had to invoke a Google search, but those were times when I was trying to stump Siri.  Siri didn't know when Jesus Christ is returning, for instance.

I was skeptical when I watched the keynote and saw Scott Forstall talking to Siri.  I wondered why, especially given the flop that was the voice-enabled iPod Shuffle, Apple keeps insisting on wanting us to talk to our devices.  But I was impressed with what I saw (I was NOT impressed by the shuffle, BTW...)

And in a touch of brilliance, Apple made the default action for bringing your iPhone to your ear (when you're not on a call, that is) a gesture that automatically engages Siri.  That's brilliant because you don't want to be the guy walking around with his phone out in front of him talking to it.  It simply looks like you're on the phone talking.

Siri is simply a killer app and completely amazing.

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