Siri's application that lets users ask their phones to complete e-commerce transactions and other tasks is now available for the Apple iPhone 3GS smartphone. Siri's technology recalls speech recognition technologies Google uses for its search by voice feature, or speech input technologies for smartphones based on Android. Dig a little deeper and it's clear there is more to Siri than basic speech recognition and search. Siri takes into account users' locations, pointing them to local services. Moreover, once users set up their accounts, the app picks up info and stores it for context.
Feb. 5 said its artificial
intelligence application that lets users ask their phones to complete e-commerce
transactions and other tasks is now available on Apple's iPhone 3GS smartphone.
Siri is piece of software that lets users speak a question into a mobile phone, get an answer
and then trigger additional actions. Available for download free from Apple's
today, the application will be available on smartphones based on
Google's Android and Research In Motion's platform in the coming months.
On the surface, Siri's
recalls speech recognition technologies Google uses for its
search by voice feature, or speech input technologies for smartphones based on
Android. Dig a little deeper and it's clear there is more to Siri than basic
speech recognition and search.
Siri co-founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus told
eWEEK Siri currently works with specific Web services
users are accustomed to
accessing from their iPhones, such as information on restaurants, movies,
events, weather and businesses.
For example, Kittlaus opened the Siri app, clicked the "Say It"
button and told Siri, "Find a fancy French restaurant for two people
tomorrow night in San Francisco."
Siri, which uses speech recognition technology from Nuance Technologies, calls
out to Web services to find options that meet the iPhone user's request.
In the French restaurant example, Siri called OpenTable, checked for
available seating at a restaurant and verified it with Kittlaus, who could then
book the table with a single click.
Siri is smart, requesting additional information when a user fails to provide
enough to enable it to complete the task. When Kittlaus asked a variation of
his restaurant request without saying how many people were in his party, Siri
engaged him in a chat session, asking how many seats he required the
reservation for. Once Kittlaus replied, "Two," Siri completed its
task, booking the table.
In another query, Kittlaus asked Siri to "Send a taxi to my house at 5 p.m." Siri called out to Taxi Magic, the
OpenTable of taxi services. If Siri can't find taxi coverage on Taxi Magic for
the user, Siri provides phone numbers for other taxi services closer to the
Siri takes into account users' locations, pointing them to local services.
Moreover, once users set up their accounts and begin using Siri, the application
picks up information and "remembers" it for context about that user. The
information is then applied to other Web services Siri supports. Users may
control what info Siri makes use of about them and may set preferences to
"teach" the application about their tastes for future use.
Siri is not a Web application. Kittlaus said Siri devised the application to
be native to the iPhone because it relies on the device's GPS
information and user context. Adam Cheyer, Siri co-founder and vice president
in the browser.
Cheyer also said while Version 1 only has 35 to 40 services, the plan is to
add new services and functionality before eventually opening up the Siri
platform to let developers work with it, building add-ons and other extensions
to make the application more useful.
"Search is a great tool and everyone uses it, but what we're doing
isn't designed to replace what search does for people. It's definitely a
next-generation paradigm that we think will be widely adopted within five years
by us and by others," Kittlaus said.
He may well be right. If that is the case, eWEEK fully expects Apple, Google
or some other company looking for an advantage in the location-based mobile
software market to make a play for Siri.
See a Siri demo on Google Watch here.