I just installed Siri on my iPhone. It claims to be a personal assistant that responds to spoken commands. After a few quick tests I’m pretty sure the claim is accurate!
Just like a real assistant, Siri understands what you say, accomplishes tasks for you and adapts to your preferences over time.
Today, Siri can help you find and plan things to do. You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, tell you what’s playing at a local jazz club or get tickets to a movie for Saturday night.
Siri is young and, like a child taking its first steps, may be awkward at times. Siri may occasionally misunderstand things you ask it to do even within its range of understanding.
Nonetheless, Siri will improve quickly by getting to know you better and understanding a broader set of tasks. In fact, right now, Siri’s learning how to handle reminders, flights stats and reference questions. Our vision is that, over time, you’ll trust Siri to manage many personal details in your life – from recommending a wine you might enjoy to managing your to do list.
When I asked about upcoming Rick Springfield concerts it knew enough to see there were none nearby and broadened its search. When asked it immediately gave me a list of comedies playing at local movie theaters (a complex task requiring it to understand a few concepts simultaneously. It also found the closest Starbucks.
I tried to stump Siri. That wasn’t too difficult.
It couldn’t tell me when the next train to Grand Central left New Haven or directions to a specific address (though it will give directions to a specific business). It also won’t add appointments to my Gmail calendar, though it will send email reminders for events I’ve told it about via my Gmail account.
As with other voice recognition apps I’ve tried lately the intelligence lives ‘in the cloud’ and my iPhone just sends digitized voice there and waits for a response.
This thing is crazy… like out of “The Jetsons” crazy and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Siri is undoubtedly the first of many in this category. And, since the power is on some remote server not my iPhone, the system can be upgraded to accomplish more without my intervention.
Did I mention it’s free? It is, but currently only available on the iPhone 3Gs.