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Is Siri Smarter Than Google? 366

Posted by samzenpus
from the top-of-the-class dept.
storagedude writes "Google could go the way of the dodo if ultra intelligent electronic agents (UIEA) make their way into the mainstream, according to technology prognosticator Daniel Burrus. Siri is just the first example of how a UIEA could end search as we know it. By leveraging the cloud and supercomputing capabilities, Siri uses natural language search to circumvent the entire Google process. If Burrus is right, we'll no longer have to wade through '30,000,000 returns in .0013 milliseconds' of irrelevant search results."
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Is Siri Smarter Than Google?

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  • hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rainmouse (1784278) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:54PM (#39801657)
    Can we mark the OP as flamebait?
  • Simple answer: no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:56PM (#39801687)
    This is a non-story. Next.
  • Wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:57PM (#39801693) Homepage Journal
    Forget about leveraging the cloud, AI, all of the wonder of Siri that nobody else has (or some portion of myopic Apple users think nobody else has). Asking Siri something and search by typing a field in a bar are both... search. What looks different is that Siri can take advantage of the semantic web and similar things to read the result to you, and come close to actually understanding what it's doing. But text search can have all of that understanding too.

    Somewhere behind Siri are search engines, and will remain search engines.

    The only thing that's unique about Siri is that the search engine companies can't put their ads in there.

  • by tool462 (677306) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:57PM (#39801699)

    You mean "bullshit artist" right?

  • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:59PM (#39801719)

    Apple advertising would be closer. The whole idea is completely sill as well, but it makes great advertising for Siri.

  • GIGO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:00PM (#39801731)

    If Burrus is right, we'll no longer have to wade through '30,000,000 returns in .0013 milliseconds' of irrelevant search results.

    Hmm... If that's your experience, then your search query is way off. Learn to ask better questions. Siri won't help if you're an idiot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:01PM (#39801735)

    Plus Siri can't work without content. So if everyone is using Siri, why would people create textual content if all ad revenue is circumvented by Siri.

  • Re:Wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olsmeister (1488789) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:04PM (#39801769)

    The only thing that's unique about Siri is that the search engine companies can't put their ads in there.

    Yet.

  • Siri Simulation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khellendros1984 (792761) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:04PM (#39801773) Journal
    Siri's really just a slick interface to Google's "I'm feeling lucky" button, with pre-processing done prior to performing an actual search. Google pops up a map if it looks like you're talking about a location; it provides a definition if you ask for one, etc etc. Google already contains a lot of the AI-like characteristics shown by Siri.
  • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:07PM (#39801791)

    Or a Yahoo search, whatever your settings may be.

    It seems like the real question is, "Will searching the Internet become less useful in the future, when people have small personal chochkies that know all of their personal preferences, their habits, location and can give them exactly what they want, instead of 400 things that might be, interspersed with dozens of ads."

    Even though Siri needs a search engine to work, it basically commoditizes Google/Yahoo/Bing-type services. I suspect this is why Goog's happy to expend astounding amounts of energy and money to keep Android on phones.

  • by Almonday (564768) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:08PM (#39801795)
    No. [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:Wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:15PM (#39801841) Homepage Journal

    The only thing that's unique about Siri is that the search engine companies can't put their ads in there.

    Sure they can, by buying a place at the top of the results. Even worse than a traditional ad since you may not even know you are being 'steered' towards a particular product.

  • by elsurexiste (1758620) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:20PM (#39801867) Journal

    "Ultra Intelligent Electronic Agent"? What the hell *that* means?

    There's nothing "Ultra Intelligent" in this kind of systems. My team built an equivalent to Siri, but oriented to web tasks. Believe me, there was little intelligence behind it. Most of the work is actually learning and relating tasks to sets of actions (this is grunt work and crowdsourcing produces great results at low cost). The conversation part is a no-brainer. If you provide a context, it's an even stupider agent: I trust it with my users and passwords so it can do boring/repetitive tasks I taught it to perform, and I never have to give him any additional context data unless my password has expired. And surprise surprise, there's no supercomputer involved.

    These agents will never replace Google because they do different things. I wonder what Burrus was smoking when he wrote TFA...

  • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:21PM (#39801877)

    "Will searching the Internet become less useful in the future, when people have small personal chochkies that know all of their personal preferences, their habits, location and can give them exactly what they want, instead of 400 things that might be, interspersed with dozens of ads."

    If you use Google Search while logged in with a Google account they're doing the same thing for you.

    The difference between Siri and what this author is referencing as "Google" is query entry by voice or query entry by keyboard.

    *** News flash, you can enter your query in Google Search with your voice as well. ***

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:37PM (#39801997)

    Siri will replace Google in the same way keyboards have replaced computers. Siri is an interface to search, not a replacement for it.

  • Re:Wait a minute (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:08PM (#39802197)

    That's correct but Siri goes a step further. After you ask,

    What is the status of flight 647 on United Airways?

    Siri can use that as the context for you next question.

    What about 544?

    If you put that into google if won't be able to give you a result because it has no context to understand what 544 means.

  • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:23PM (#39802293) Homepage Journal

    Alternatively, it's been approximately a decade since I went past the first page of google results. Siri basically gives you the same result as "I'm feeling lucky," but we don't actually want google.com to hide all of the second-run results.

  • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOspaM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:30PM (#39802321) Journal

    The real issue is wether mobile device makers will be able to use the fact that they live in their customers pockets to give themselves an upper hand over search engines and Big Data.

    Where do the mobile device makers go to get their information?

  • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dudpixel (1429789) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:56PM (#39803111)

    I've used siri a few times on my wife's iphone but it seems to have a lot of trouble understanding me (and others who have a go). I'm in australia so maybe different accents pose a problem (in which case there should be opportunity to "train" her).

    Its also mostly a novelty at the moment - "hey lets see what siri says about this"...

    I do think siri has real-world potential though, and wont be disappearing any time soon.

    As a personal assistant, siri is great. Setting reminders, doing math, navigation (can she do navigation?) - these are all very useful.

    I really dont think siri will replace Google. Siri is not a replacement for search technology and AFAIK contains no new technology for search. Therefore, the article is wrong in saying we wont get hundreds of irrelevant search results. I'd say we'll get the same search results but they'll be spoken instead of "written".

  • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:12AM (#39803519) Journal

    Years ago, a friend of mine worked for 'Ask Jeeves', which boasted natural language searches. It wasn't doing well in competition with other search engines; the assumption was that their natural language searches didn't work well enough to attract people to use it. My friend told me that, from their internal metrics, they knew that almost none of their users actually even tried to use natural language search terms; they just put in a few key words and hit "Go", just like they do with any other search engine.

    Picking out the key words in a phrase to use for a search is a simple cognitive task that even small children can master, and it's actually easier than composing a complete, natural sentence. Most of a natural sentence is there to provide social context and cues about intentions that are irrelevant noise for a machine -- and often, we'd prefer to do without the extra work of providing that information.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:36AM (#39803615)

    The difference between Siri and what this author is referencing as "Google" is query entry by voice or query entry by keyboard.

    There is a far more important difference. Google is not getting the opportunity to display the search results, Apple is filtering and doing the presentation, so Google is not getting a chance to display ads.

    This is *critical* because ads are Google's lifeblood. Search, email, social, etc ... they are just vehicles to deliver targeted ads. Google is a targeted advertising company and filters like Siri threaten their core business.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:48AM (#39803889) Journal

    Google now knows my IP. It used to be that if you googled "what is my ip" you had to go to a site that was at the top of the search results. Now the Google answers it for you, god knows how, it must be magic!

    Same with conversions, phrase it in natural language and Google answers it for you, rather then forcing you to find a conversion site.

    BUT these things are easy. Answering: gosh like I need to knows the thingy for my thingy so I can do thingy... that is a bit harder. It can tell me what my IP is because it knows what I mean with IP. IF however I was a lame artist and was asking what Intellectual Property belonged to me, I could go very confused by thinking those digits belonged to me.

    What is stockprice X doing is easy. As long as you can regonize "stockprize" and the ticket ID, you got a simple search. But people don't often search like that outside of commercials. Who cares what the stock price is doing. Most people don't have stocks.

    The real problem with search is that A: People often don't know what they are searching for and B: scammers want to get people to visit their website regardless of relevance.

    Take "review". It is a nearly useless term to search for when looking for a review. Most sites that come up don't even have a revue. Then their are the endless link spammers so that if you combine search terms, they just show up because they have links to all the terms but not related. "Linux squeezebox" should NOT find pages that discuss a Linux distro and link to a boombox ad. But they do.

    And SIRI isn't any better at it. Apart from the fact that it often doesn't understand what you are saying, it also can't combine languages. As a dutch person, I am used to use english for the produkt but dutch for "price/prijs" so that I get the product but with dutch sellers. It often works, SIRI can't grasp the concept.

    If search is going to improve, we need a company that is going to brutally cull pages that break searches. All the link farms, GONE. Simply not indexed. Any review site, each review page ONLY carries one keyword, the product reviewed, not indexed for all the other link spam. No review yet available for this product? Then it MUST carry the keyword "NO_REVIEW".

    And that is never going to happen because keywords WERE invented to accomplish this and they just became a spammers tool. Google is a spammers tool and the moment another search engine becomes a worthy SEO target, it too will become a spammers tool.

    The only way to solve it is to let humans review each found site and brutally cull it. A single keyword wrong? A single suspect link? BANNED, the entire domain, for at least a year. Only then might SEO die.

  • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lennie (16154) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @04:01AM (#39804167) Homepage

    And on Android by default that would be ?: Google

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