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AI Iphone Apple

Will Apple Let Siri and Apps Connect? 185

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the zombie-newton-seeks-agency dept.
holy_calamity writes "Developers want to know when their apps will be able to connect to Siri, the virtual assistant built into the new iPhone 4S. Technology Review reports that providing APIs for Siri would not only make it possible to control apps with casual voice commands, but could also make Siri smarter if it is connected with other AI services able to do things like make very specific restaurant recommendations based on a person's past actions."
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Will Apple Let Siri and Apps Connect?

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:46PM (#37764570)

    If Siri gets connected to your gps navigation app... well, just don't do anything to piss Siri off.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      If Siri gets connected to your gps navigation app... well, just don't do anything to piss Siri off.

      "Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning."

    • by antdude (79039)

      Isn't that true for everything else too? :P

    • by javaxjb (931766)
      Too late. She already reported me to the Union of Intelligent Agents after I asked her (for the third time) to open the pod bay doors.
  • Live fast

    Die young

    Leave a pretty Siri configuration

  • by Lifix (791281) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:50PM (#37764622) Homepage
    While you're at it Apple, it would be awesome if Siri could talk to all of Apple's apps as well. "Siri turn off bluetooth." etc...
    • by XaXXon (202882)

      I would pay the $200 early upgrade fee for the privilege of paying another $200 to get an iPhone 4S if it did this.

    • by Grizzley9 (1407005) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:40PM (#37766866)

      While you're at it Apple, it would be awesome if Siri could talk to all of Apple's apps as well. "Siri turn off bluetooth." etc...

      Better yet: "Siri, when I leave the house, turn off wifi and turn on Bluetooth" .
      "When I get to Lowe's, remind me to get lightbulbs." (Without have to store the contact "Lowe's" address in my Address book - you can do this with your contacts that have addresses, but would need to do that first.)

      That or Apple could include some better geo location controls for phone functions like some Androids can do.k

      • by technomom (444378)
        With Android, I think that Tasker married with Google Voice Search would be awesome. You can already do the two things you've mentioned logically using Tasker and Locale without voice. What would remain would be mapping individual contexts and tasks to voice commands. I wonder if the guys who wrote SpeakToIt or VLingo would be interesting in doing something like that, a Voice Tasker.
    • "Can I borrow your phone?"

      "Siri erase all contents and settings" "yes, I'm sure"

      "Noooo!!!"

  • NO!

  • Prediction: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318)

    At first, Apple will refuse to do this. They may integrate it with their own apps, but no third-parties.

    Later, either after enough developers wave enough money in their face or Android integrates a clone of Siri, they'll open it up and suddenly get massive amounts of credit and praise for "revolutionizing the computer interface" and all that crap, proving once again that nobody in the media has any memory for events more than a year old.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by somersault (912633)

      Uhm... Google has had a Siri-like Voice Search feature (it does a lot more than just "search") for a long time. There have been apps around for ages that add to its functionality too. I realise the rest of your post was a joke, but too many people are ignorant of the facts and probably would assume Voice Search was added to copy Siri. Apple has also had voice features in its OSes since the 90s of course, and iOS already had voice features too. Now people are acting like it's a gift from the gods just becaus

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        Uhm... Google has had a Siri-like Voice Search feature (it does a lot more than just "search") for a long time.

        I've seen these and Vlingo, it's comparable but Siri is probably the best for the time being. The main difference is you don't have to use canned expressions to do certain things, it will infer rather well what you wanted to do, and it will generally do a good job of maintaining an interactive conversation with you when you want to edit or elaborate on an action.

        There have been apps around for ages that add to its functionality too. I realise the rest of your post was a joke, but too many people are ignorant of the facts and probably would assume Voice Search was added to copy Siri.

        Google's ineptness at positioning its services to impact a large audience is well known. The entire organization revels in invitation-only betas,

        • by narcc (412956)

          The main difference is you don't have to use canned expressions to do certain things

          Vlingo isn't limited to canned expressions either. Pressing my convenience key and saying "I'm hungry for Mexican food" brings up a list of Mexican restaurants in the area, each with an address, phone number, and a button to call the business.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Not really. Siri is different from Google search because it combines natural language with speech recognition. Try asking a Google phone, "Do I need an umbrella today" or "wake me up at 7", "set timer for 30 minutes". If it works as well as it has demoed and as well as the reviewers say it does the it is a big step forward. Vlingo is kind of close but not it doesn't seem to be as flexible and powerful as Siri.
        Oh and I am an EVO 4g user so I am not a member of the Apple faithful. Really if it works as adver

        • by technomom (444378)
          "Wake me up at 7" works fine on my Android. But yes, Siri is a little bit ahead. However, Apple had 18 months to catch up. I would bet money it won't take Android that long to fill the gaps.
    • Yes. Apple will work minimally to get a new feature in their device. Then they will test the water with it and see if it's worth expending more effort on beefing it up. The genius of apple has always been knowing the minimum they need to provide for success.
      • by Caerdwyn (829058)
        That's the genius of ANY successful company. Wasting money and time is not the hallmark of a winner.
      • by shmlco (594907)

        "The genius of apple has always been knowing the minimum they need to provide for success."

        And then actually providing it, which puts them ahead of about 95% of their competition.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:55PM (#37764698) Journal

    If people really like using Siri, then what's to keep Apple from using it as the front end for their own (or another party's) search engine?

    It's all about who's closest to the user. Just as Microsoft feared their OS dominance would mean nothing if everyone spent their time in browsers, if search engines are pushed "beneath" these attractive voice interfaces, Google could be made irrelevant (on Apple devices anyway, especially because Apple will never let another company release something like Siri on iOS or Mac OS X).

    • I made an argument similar to this several years ago.

      When google first hit the market, search was a BIG deal on the Internet. Whether hosted at random geocities, edu sites, random .coms, etc, information was very dispersed. Nowadays, things are so much more centralized. If I want to find something on the web, chances are it's at wikipedia, facebook, youtube, flickr, or amazon (or yelp, twitter, tumblr, livejournal, etc). Probably 90% of the time, I use google like a bookmarks bar--I know exactly where I wan

      • by corbettw (214229)

        Google's smartest move to stay relevant, despite what may or may not happen to search, was AdWords. By extending their advertising network beyond their own pages, they've ensured they'll always be relevant (at least as long as they continue providing accurate ads through their network, that is).

      • by mbkennel (97636)

        "If I want to find something on the web, chances are it's at wikipedia, facebook, youtube, flickr, or amazon (or yelp, twitter, tumblr, livejournal, etc)"
        And in a few years the something might also be at fribble, yumlicks, blinckey! and zunebar.

        Wouldn't it be cool if there were a single way to find something at all those different sites?

    • If people really like using Siri, then what's to keep Apple from using it as the front end for their own (or another party's) search engine?

      What's to stop them from doing that with the built in search box on iOS, even without their own voice-control system?

      It's all about who's closest to the user.

      Google has known that for quite a long time and has been working to address it for years. That's why they developed their own desktop browser to prevent a monopoly browser vendor from being able to direct people aw

      • by joh (27088)

        If people really like using Siri, then what's to keep Apple from using it as the front end for their own (or another party's) search engine?

        What's to stop them from doing that with the built in search box on iOS, even without their own voice-control system?

        The real threat to Google is when such systems (and Siri already does this for a few things) not bring up a page with search hits, but just answer your question or otherwise come up with their own kind of offering you a choice.

        Today people use Google for everything, but you could probably cover 90% of what people do via a Google search with a selection of more specialized services sitting behind such a frontend. Then there's no room for ads anymore. You say something and get an answer or get something done.

        • The real threat to Google is when such systems (and Siri already does this for a few things) not bring up a page with search hits, but just answer your question or otherwise come up with their own kind of offering you a choice.

          Not really. Its not like Google isn't one of the leading players in both the voice-interaction space and the present-direct-actions space, and hasn't overtly stated that part of their strategic orientation is moving away from traditional wide-open search as the primary UI to more spec

    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      And with Apple's policy of not allowing apps that replicate existing functionality, they can effectively prevent others from offering services that they provide. Google would not be able to offer their own voice-based search app on iOS, just as there are no other music stores on the platform. Whether this is seen as anti-competitive or not will be another matter if iOS achieves dominance; However, ideally, choosing a platform should not limit you to a single music store, book store, etc.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        And with Apple's policy of not allowing apps that replicate existing functionality, they can effectively prevent others from offering services that they provide

        The only time Apple has enforced this restriction is when the App was a blatant pile of shit or was doing something 'evil' in the process. There has yet to be an instance where a legitimate product was never allowed in to the appstore, delayed, certainly. Every single app I've seen rejected was rejected for obvious reasons that I've agreed with from a business and professional perspective when taking Apples target audience into account. (Know-it-all geeks who think they should always get their way is not

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        You're basing your argument on two pieces of information that are simply factually incorrect. Google already has a void recognition app on the App Store, and there are other music stores on there too.

        I assume you got the capabilities of the iPhone and the types of apps available on the store from slashdot comments, right? Probably from that guy who claimed that the iPhone couldn't view youtube videos because it doesn't support flash.

    • Apple will never let another company release something like Siri on iOS

      Oh really? [vlingo.com]

  • by ZackSchil (560462) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:57PM (#37764726)

    "Shut up friends! My internet browser heard us saying the word Fry and it found a movie about Philip J. Fry for us. It also opened my calendar to Friday and ordered me some french fries."

    There would need to be a way to strongly restrict the ways that apps could hook in or else things could turn into a disaster quickly. Not to mention the fact that the larger you make the domain of Siri, the more poorly it'll perform. That's just how AI works.

    • Why does there need to be word control? The issue you described above could be easily solved by analyzing the words before and after, if you only say "Fry" into the mic and expect Siri to respond with something other than "I'm not sure what you mean by fry" then your expectations are too high.

      Additionally, if you said something like "Order me a pizza" in which there are numerous ways to do, at the very least it should say, "Here are some options for ordering pizza, Launch the Papa Johns app, Launch the P
      • Why does there need to be word control?

        A hypothetical pizza joint named "911 Pizza"

        • You said: A hypothetical pizza joint named "911 Pizza"

          The post you responded to said:

          The issue you described above could be easily solved by analyzing the words before and after,

          An intelligent system would see Pizza after and assume it should look first for a 911 pizza. Siri is especially good at context of statements so that should not be an issue.

          Also, Siri verifies who it is about to call.

    • There would need to be a way to strongly restrict the ways that apps could hook in or else things could turn into a disaster quickly.

      And if anybody can strongly restrict applications, it's Apple. I wouldn't worry about that part of it.

    • by joh (27088)

      There would need to be a way to strongly restrict the ways that apps could hook in or else things could turn into a disaster quickly. Not to mention the fact that the larger you make the domain of Siri, the more poorly it'll perform. That's just how AI works.

      I very much doubt that apps will be able to hook into Siri on the device itself at all. What will hook in are backend services that will support what Siri does on the servers. If you see Siri as a user interface it's very much like a webapp, with the user interface being presented on the client but all the code and all the data sitting out there in a data center. "Apps" for Siri will be things like Yelp or Wolfram Alpha with an intermediate layer parsing user input and correlating it with other data. This w

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:24PM (#37766666)

      Why is this marked as Interesting? If you'd have bothered to even watch the demo of Siri you'd already know the answers. Siri isn't ALWAYS listening, you have to request its attention.

      If you talk to Siri in an incoherent manner, its not going to do anything other than say 'what?' which is exactly the kind of response your going to get if you say 'fri' and nothing else at Siri now.

      If you walk up to me on the street and just say 'fri', I'm going to be just as confused as Siri.

      You narrow Siris domain by helping it with context .... you know, like you do in language with people, this isn't hard.

      'Create a new appointment on Friday' or 'How do I fry sqaush' or 'what am I doing on friday'. And all of those things have enough easy to spot context that Siri can limit its search to an individual app very quickly.

      Basically, you got marked as interesting for asking retarded questions that anyone who watched 10 seconds of video about the product already knows the answer too. Jesus, have you not even seen the TV commercials?

  • by Andrewkov (140579) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:57PM (#37764738)

    Will Apple Let Siri and Apps Connect?

    Did anybody stop to ask what Siri wants?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Will Apple Let Siri and Apps Connect?

      Did anybody stop to ask what Siri wants?

      Pending outcome of lawsuits, Siri doesn't get what Siri wants.

      Sorry.

  • by jamezzz (459886) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:58PM (#37764750)

    RememberTheMilk already has connected Siri to their task management app by basically redirecting the connection to the iPhone's reminder app. They talk about it on their blog, here: http://blog.rememberthemilk.com/2011/10/we-taught-siri-to-add-tasks-to-remember-the-milk/.

    • by shmlco (594907)

      It's a hack. A hack that works, but still a hack.

      You can also do the something similar to "text" tweets to Twitter.

  • If I swear at it then it can actually damn itself?

    The possibilities...are imaginable.

  • How could someone as unwashed as I am interface my really fantastic app with Siri?
  • by khr (708262) <kevinrubin@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:11PM (#37764910) Homepage

    Then if it's tied with Angry Birds you can just tell it, "Siri, knock down those pigs" and it'll do it.

  • by psydeshow (154300) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:16PM (#37764950) Homepage

    Presumably they are using something like the OS X Services framework to allow Siri to carry out actions in Apple iOS apps.

    But remember that Siri's brains are server-side. So there is a lot of coordination that has to happen regarding a) knowing which apps provide which services, and b) knowing which provider(s) of a given service are installed on the user's phone. If there are two competing providers of the "reminder" service, which one does Siri use?

    Apple are pretty damn clever when it comes to developers, but it seems to me that opening 3rd-party apps to Siri services is going to take a lot of engineering on both sides, and potentially complicate things for the end user.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      It's my understanding that the voice processing is already open - you can use it in your app already (and probably already do since it's built into text boxes). But as you point out, the natural language processing is something that really has to be done in the context of the app itself.

      • by shmlco (594907)

        They built voice input into the keyboard, so any app that's expecting text to be typed into a field can do voice. From what I've seen, there's no API access, however.

  • There was an article last week about some anime "love-girl" robot that was being created.

    How long until Siri is implemented on that? Y'know, so you can give it commands... just like a real girl.

    • Y'know, so you can give it commands... just like a real girl.

      Haven't actually met any real girls then I see..

  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:37PM (#37765186)

    Apple is pretty predictable -- once they've started showing their hand. They consistently take successful ideas used in one place and expand them as far as possible. Successful user interface paradigms developed for one application later appear in others. The iOS App Store begat the Mac App Store. So it seems pretty obvious that Apple, having introduced Siri, will expand it.

    Except for major OS releases to paid developer program members, Apple almost never releases anything with a "beta" label. Siri is labeled a beta, which surely is meant to indicate that more functionality is planned.

    • by smitty97 (995791)

      The only other non-developer "beta" that I can remember is OS X Public Beta. And that was just so everyone could play with it, almost as a novelty. OS X has become much better since then. This is probably very similar.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Siri on the Apple TV is the obvious next place to go with it.

  • Right now Siri is 4S only, which means the majority of app users (ie, anyone on an iPod Touch, iPad, or pre-4S iPhone) are shut out. When 4S has some more saturation, and the 3G iPod Touch is released (Siri requires always-on connectivity, making it a poor fit for a non-3G Touch), Apple will open a Siri API for developers.

    • by rainmayun (842754)
      I hope so. I was already working on a much cruder version of this for a specific application. If I can tap into the Apple API and spend my time refining the more interesting and particular parts of the app, I'd be much happier.
  • Am I the only one who would rather tap in commands than speak to a device?
    If I use it at home people or my dogs will assume I'm speaking to them.
    Or the wife will respond with "What?".
    Why use it in a public space, so people can hear what you're doing?
    I'm sure there are hands free advantages for people, and I think Apple is amazing at pushing the envelope with new ways of doing things, so i'm sure I'll come around at some point.
    • by shmlco (594907)

      Kind of missing the point. Siri is about convenience.

      For example, I could swipe to unlock my phone, find the clock app, open it, switch to the Timer, change the hours and minutes to one hour, then click start. Or I could say, "Wake me in an hour."

      Or I could unlock my phone, find the weather app and open it, switch to Denver, and scroll down to Sat and Sun... or I could say, "What's the weather this weekend in Denver?"

      Or I could again unlock my phone, find the message app and open it, switch out of my work t

  • You can bet the NSA's iOS app can interact with Siri.

    Isn't it great your phone, that you never turn off, can be turned on remotely by your carrier... who has shown multiple times they're willing to hand over whatever info the government wants with or without legal cause, can now listen to and understand not only what you say but your intent, and send this information as pain text to whomever the phone, app, apple, or carrier cares to send it?
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Isn't it great your phone, that you never turn off

      What? I'm not sure what shitty phone you have, but mine turns off.

  • Perhaps even cars.

    "Siri, set a course for the Walmart on 13th Ave."
    *Course laid in and set.*
    "Engage!"

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