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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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  • Is she? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tomcode (261182) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:53PM (#39801649)

    Whenever I ask Siri a question, she always refers me to a google search.

    • Simple answer: no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:56PM (#39801687)
      This is a non-story. Next.
    • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

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

      • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LoudMusic (199347) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:21PM (#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 iluvcapra (782887)

          It doesn't really have anything to do with the voice entry, that's sort of a red herring. 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.

          • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bobNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:30PM (#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, Interesting)

              by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:24PM (#39803281)

              From their GPS receivers, cameras, and gyroscopes, and then they correlate it with whatever information on the internet they choose, be it Google, Yahoo, Bing, OpenStreetMap, Wolfram, Yelp... The point is they decide the provider, not Google.

              • The point is they decide the provider, not Google.

                Assuming that, you know, there is a dividing line between "mobile device makers", "mobile OS providers", and "Google".

                Google's already all of these but the first, has has let out that it is working on its own tablet under the Nexus brand as well being in the middle of purchasing Motorola Mobility.

              • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Lennie (16154) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @03:01AM (#39804167) Homepage

                And on Android by default that would be ?: Google

          • It doesn't really have anything to do with the voice entry, that's sort of a red herring. 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.

            And the answer is no, since mobile device makers need Big Data -- and much of the technology underlying search engines -- to actually use the fact that they live in their customers pockets to do anything productive.

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          On the other hand, when I want a restaurant review, I want Yelp or something like Yelp. And when I ask Siri for restaurants, it gives me Yelp reviews. Google for some reason doesn't do this, and the results it does give for these kinds of searches are usually very disorganized and uncurated. I don't care if Siri is hardcoded to go to Yelp, it simply does the right thing and wins, while Google searches spit out a lot of stuff that's useful and a lot of stuff that isn't.

          This is probably symptomatic of Goog

          • On the other hand, when I want a restaurant review, I want Yelp or something like Yelp. And when I ask Siri for restaurants, it gives me Yelp reviews. Google for some reason doesn't do this

            When I ask Google for restaurant reviews, the top results are Zagat, Urbanspoon, and then local restuarants with Google reviews. And then Yelp. I suppose if I specifically wanted Yelp reviews rather than "something like Yelp", I would ask for Yelp.

            And I suppose if I actually wanted Yelp (a preference I would reveal to Goo

        • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Funny)

          by rampant mac (561036) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:52PM (#39802103)

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

          I just tried this, trying louder and louder each time. My neighbors just called the cops. Can someone else PLEASE google "Did Hitler love anal sex" for me??

          PS - I don't have a microphone.

        • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by griffjon (14945) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <noJffirG>> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:23PM (#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:4, Interesting)

            by milkmage (795746) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:44PM (#39802693)

            ...lucky?

            ask google "show me the flights over head"

            https://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=show+me+the+flights+currently+overhead&oq=show+me+the+flights+currently+overhead&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=igoogle.3...863178.869391.0.869641.42.42.0.28.3.1.191.1176.10j4.14.0 [google.com].

            first result is how to get siri to give you the answer..

            ask Siri and you get...
            delta airlines flt 2279, 7500 ft, 21 degrees up, mcdonnel douglas, 4.1 miles south-southeast
            united airlines flt 1698 25000 ft, 14 degrees up boeing 737 800 20 miles south
            virgin america flt 71 19,600 ft, 10 degrees up airbus 320, 21 miles north-northwest
            skywest airlines, flt 6410 10000 ft, 6.8 degrees up canadair regional jet, crj-200

            • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Vintermann (400722) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @04:01AM (#39804373) Homepage

              Try googling "plane map".

              By comparison, try asking siri "which ships are in port right now?" and googling "ship map".

              Consider the possibility that you're impressed by hardcoded displays, rather than sophisticated algorithms.

          • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by shitzu (931108) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:23AM (#39803781)

            For me, google has got progressively worse in the last year or so. It treats everything i write as a typo and all words as optional by default. Just yesterday i got 0 relevant results on the first page (query: insync uninstall osx).
            And I don't get this natural language thing at all - i find it much easier and faster to type two-three words (google *used to* give me relevant results) than to form full sentence. Speaking with a computer is even more cumbersome and a sentence takes even more time than typing a couple of words even if the computer gets it right.
            But maybe i am just becoming obsolete and google is not meant for searching obscure commands or error messages at all.

        • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @12:36AM (#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.

        • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @03:35AM (#39804285) Journal
          The comparison between Google and Siri is not as silly as it appears. Burrus thinks that the future of search belongs to intelligent agents, and that means more than just giving a dumb search engine a little bit of extra context in the form of personal data it has collected on you. Intelligence doesn't mean having data on where I am and what my friends "liked".

          An "intelligent" agent (best to use the word with caution) should at the very least:
          - understand your question;
          - understand the material it is searching.
          Google only does this at a very basic level, and in some cases Siri is ahead of the curve when it comes to semantic interpretation. Or more accurately: wolphram alpha is, when Siri passes your question on to it.

          There's some nice research going on in semantic analysis of search queries and source material, and ways of turning that into a sematic drill-down into search results. That can come in the form of a visualisation of search results, or (in the future) something like this:
          "Siri, I need a new washer"
          - "Do you mean dishwasher, or laundry machine, or something else?"
          "A laundry machine"
          - "What features are you looking for? Low price, economy, capacity, quality, high-speed spin drying?"
          "Well, the price is not that relevant though I want something from a reputable brand, and spend at most $800. I suppose most machines will have sufficient capacity."
          - "I am assuming a standard-size machine. I found the following A-brand machines matching your criteria, along with prices and features. I highlighted a few machines that people seem to be particularly pleased with."
          "Nr. 3 looks good, show me some reviews from trade magazines for that one, as well as what people have written about it. Is there a shop at the local Mega Mall that has them?"
          - "Hang on. Yes, it is in stock. You can pick it up but they also do free delivery to this area".

          And so on. For this, the search engine needs to understand many things: that there are kinds of "washers", that they have specific properties that may or may not be relevant, that there is a standard size for washing machines, what a "reputable brand" is and which brands qualify, and it needs to be able to interpret shop websites to figure out if they carry a particular model, what their price is, and if they deliver. Google does none of this. Wolphram alpha has some capabilities in this area (type in "dishwasher properties" for example). In the future, when these engines become better at interpreting meaning, we will have conversations with our search engine. That will be the game-changer, and something that could render Google obsolete (if they don;t get into the game themselves).
    • Re:Is she? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dudpixel (1429789) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:56PM (#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 SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:48AM (#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.

    • Short answer is no. Even Steve Wozniak said so. Next.

  • Voice recognition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:53PM (#39801651)
    This assumes voice recognition becomes leaps and bounds better than it is right now. I've cursed at Siri more than I've asked it questions. Maybe it's my Midwest accent.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:01PM (#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:Voice recognition (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gutnor (872759) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:07PM (#39802193)

        why would people create textual content if all ad revenue is circumvented by Siri.

        Back in 2000, when the default business model was to create content and package it either in a box (like for encyclopedia, ...) or stick it behind a paywall. People would have asked the question: "why would people create content if you can find for free on the internet".

        Today we know, and tomorrow there will be other business models that work with Siri ...

    • by GodInHell (258915)
      Tey evi with google voice rec. Often suprises me how well it works.
    • Re:Voice recognition (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:27PM (#39802635)

      Voice recognition is at it limits phonetically, really it has been since the late 90's. The perceived improvements come entirely from context sensitive assumptions. Siri was better than Google Voice and search for the first 90 days or so due to more brute force behind the context engine. They pulled the CPU allocation at Apple and it has been behind Google Voice ever since.

      A Pentium II 450 Mhz running Dragon Naturally Speaking on XP circa 1999 interprets your voice just as well as Google Voice or Siri (given similar microphones / adc's), the difference has entirely been in the guesses the software makes when it doubts recognition of a word within a phrase. A propagation of high quality mics and adc's into phones versus a crap Labtec mics on 90's era PC's constitutes the rest of the difference.

      Context interpretation requires an enormous database of phrase fragment search capabilities. Providing better search results is merely the act of making better command keyword extrapolation. E.g., "I want to go to ," and going straight to a map to the (nearest current GPS), rather than requiring a structured query such as, "Map to near "

      There is no real intelligence or revolution being discussed here, it is rather all the correct application of large amounts of brute force processing power. It all comes down to an extension of the system which made Google #1 over Altavista and Hotbot back in the day, that is processing power driven context sensitivity as opposed to pure keyword frequency.

      The only revolution is the linear improvement of CPU power/RAM/storage per $ which makes it affordable to do for free or cheap.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dan East (318230)

        I don't fully agree. Dragon requires extensive training and gets better over time the more you use it and as you actively configure macros, correct misinterpreted words, etc. Siri, google voice search, etc are speaker agnostic. That's a huge difference in technology.

      • by raddan (519638) *
        As someone who is currently studying probabilistic modelling-- you're wrong about these systems needing databases of phrases. While they could use that approach, it is not clear that it would help, and searching that database would likely be very inefficient.

        Instead, speech/text/image recognition systems typically use some kind of probabilistic graphical model. A simple example of one is called a "Markov chain"-- simple enough that Markov was able to compute conditional probabilities by hand using his mo
      • Re:Voice recognition (Score:4, Informative)

        by kurisuto (165784) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @07:34AM (#39805405) Homepage

        Sorry, but this is bull. Your statement that "voice recognition is at its limits phonetically" is just wrong. I work in the voice recognition industry, and in the past five years, I've seen the recognition error rate markedly and measurably go down, and this trend is continuing.

        There are actually two kinds of models involved in voice recognition:

        1) the acoustic model (which has to do with looking at a sequence of time slices of the acoustic signal and working out what sequence of phonemes could most likely have given rise to it). You say that voice recognition is at its limits phonetically, but these models are actually getting better over time with larger sets of training data, and the improved models measurably result in a lowered word error rate.

        2) the language model (which has to do with specifying which words exist, and in what order they are most likely to occur). These language models can be very simple, as in the case of a yes/no question in a phone-based app (your model might accept "yes" and "yes ma'am", but not any arbitrary English utterance); or they can be very large, as in the case of a general-purpose dictation application.

        In conjunction with the recognizer, what these two models give you is a raw string of recognized words. What sort of processing you do on that string is a separate question. There are obviously all sorts of things you can do with the string. The parsing and processing techniques are getting more sophisticated, and are getting integrated with other systems in interesting ways. This is largely a separate question from the accuracy of the string itself, which is the output of the recognizer (I say "largely" because your application might activate a different language model based on the current context, which does affect recognition accuracy).

    • Scottish apple ad ... Apple Scotland ... having a wee bit of a problem. If you haven't seen this please look it up.

  • hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rainmouse (1784278) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:54PM (#39801657)
    Can we mark the OP as flamebait?
    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:59PM (#39801719)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:54PM (#39801661)

    So he's saying that if we perfect assistants to the point where they'll be able to answer our questions directly, we won't have to go look for the answers ourselves?

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:54PM (#39801667)
    At least thats been my experience so far.
    • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:49PM (#39802077) Journal

      Depends on what you ask. But that's a good point.

      Siri "circumvents" Google search for certain things. "Find me a seafood restaurant" will go to Yelp, which has reviews and such. "How many grams in an ounce" will go to Wolfram-Alpha. Otherwise, it sticks it in a query and ships it off to Google.

      Needless to say, Google isn't sitting still. "Find me a seafood restaurant" in Google will also provide me a list of local restaurants with reviews, much like Yelp does. Arguably, Google's ratings may be better because they are collected from a broad spectrum of sources (user reviews from various review sites, individual bloggers, professional reviews) versus whoever Apple decided to sign a deal with. Speaking of which, you have to consider what kind of deals are being done in the background. Woz recently pointed out something [pcmag.com] I found a bit disturbing:

      “I used to ask Siri, ‘What are the five biggest lakes in California?’ and it would come back with the answer. Now it just misses. It gives me real estate listings. I used to ask, ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and it would answer. Now instead of getting prime numbers, I get listings for prime rib, or prime real estate.”

      So where Siri used to give answers, Siri now gives advertising.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nickspoon (1070240)
        Siri must be pretty amazing if it can tell you all the prime numbers greater than 87. Maybe it's smarter than Google after all.
  • by bluemonq (812827) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:54PM (#39801669)

    ...on the sort of basic questions Siri's capable of answering, something went horribly wrong with your query.

  • Wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:57PM (#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.

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

      by olsmeister (1488789) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:04PM (#39801769)

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

      Yet.

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

      I can imagine it right now: "Thank you for your question, your answer is sponsered by alienware...avaliable now at your local retailer."

      Just you wait.

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

      by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:15PM (#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.

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

        by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:39PM (#39802013) Homepage Journal
        Right. As you and the other two have reminded me, this should have been "The search engine companies can't put their ads in there without paying Apple". And you can imagine that any constraints and regulation that are put on Google will make their way to Apple eventually. Will this protect the users? Absolutely not. Nothing can protect Apple users, because the problem is protecting them from themselves.
      • Sarcastic/Satirical Futuristic Surrealism ahead:

        "What car should I buy?"
        "You will buy a Ford."
        "Will?! I hate those! You know, Found On Road Dead."
        "No. You WILL buy a Ford."
        "Why?"
        "Because you will be arrested for buying anything else."
        "What does THAT mean?"
        "You are on Main Street, 734 Main or thereabouts within a 100 foot margin, near the Walmart block. Authorities have been alerted that if your credit card shows any other purchase of a motor vehicle other than Ford, you will be deemed a terrorist and treate

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My German Shepherd is smarter than your Siri.

    • My German Shepherd is smarter than your Siri.

      I was waiting for this one.
      Didn't take long either.
      Now who owns the copyright on it?

  • by tool462 (677306) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @06:57PM (#39801699)

    You mean "bullshit artist" right?

  • by k6mfw (1182893) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:00PM (#39801727)
    I don't follow much of the esoteric details (and don't give a yayhoo about speed) but when I enter a term in a search engine, i.e. "RF video combiners," I'd like some return of technical documents and (what would be really nice) individual techies with their own webpage showing how to implement and what pitfalls to avoid. Instead I get a bunch of sales/marketing aggregates, tech discussions that are really disguised sales/marketing crap, ebay listings, go-get-bids, sorority-sluts, etc.
    • by belthize (990217)

      Agreed, somewhat.

      Google has fairly simplistic regex rules to speed the process. I'd happily pay Google $5, $10 or more a month if I could generate a search with complicated regex and weightings. The fee goes to hosting separate servers that specialize in providing truly useful returns in minutes rather than a ream of butt useless ones in a fraction of a second.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      The core problem with search engines right now is that they search just for plain text not entities, so whenever a text string shows up in a webpage that matches, you get that as a result, even so that text string happens to refer to a completely different entity. Some search engines such as DuckduckGo or WolframAlpha do have some support for enties, but they are extremely limited and essentially useless for actual search. So if you type in "Saturn" into DuckduckGo, you get the info that it's a planet, a ga

  • GIGO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:00PM (#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.

  • Is it just me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gman003 (1693318)

    or has Google's search gotten crappier lately?

    I was trying to find a purchase or at least pre-order page for a specific laptop model. Top search result on Google was an Amazon link - an Amazon search page for that exact model, showing 0 results followed by the regular "you may also be interested in" links (most of which weren't even tangentially related to what I was looking for).

    That's not all - get this. Google noted that it was recommending this because I had already visited the page

    Really, Google? Reall

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's you.

    • DuckDuckGo [duckduckgo.com] seems to, in general, return better results than Google has for me for awhile now. To me it feels like using Google in the early 2000s, actually, clean and generally bullshit-free.
    • The problem with google filled with search results (and ads) for google's search, just specific to a major site (ebay, amazon, etc) isn't new [1]. It's not even particularly distressing.

      The problem is more likely due to model proliferation - why are there dozens if not hundreds of models of Asus laptops? Why will you only find a particular model at some stores? The problem is one of retailers protecting themselves from channel conflict (i.e., trying to avoid this scenario: browse store - find item, scan

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:04PM (#39801767)

    I've heard complaints that Suri is getting dumber over time. That for some people it used to return the results that they wanted, but now that it is building up its database of what (I'm guessing) a majority of people mean when they ask a question, that at least a minority of users no longer get the results they used to receive for the same query. If Suri gets overwhelmed by queries that can be considered in pop-culture terms to mean something other than their strict meanings, she could quickly become both useless and frustrating.

  • Siri Simulation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khellendros1984 (792761) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:04PM (#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.
  • by Almonday (564768) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:08PM (#39801795)
    No. [wikipedia.org]
  • Yeah but? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BradyB (52090) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:09PM (#39801801) Homepage

    Didn't even Wozniak say that Siri isn't as good as the advertisements?

    Steve quoted on various news sites:

    I have a lower success rate with Siri than I do with the voice built into the Android, and that bothers me. I’ll be saying, over and over again in my car, ‘Call the Lark Creek Steak House,’ and I can’t get it done. Then I pick up my Android, say the same thing, and it’s done. [...] On the 4S I can only do that when Siri can connect over the Internet. But many times it can’t connect. I’ve never had Android come back and say, ‘I can’t connect over the Internet. [...] Plus I get navigation. Android is way ahead on that.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:17PM (#39801847)

    If I want to know something, I just have to ask my ex. She knows everything.

  • by elsurexiste (1758620) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:20PM (#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...

    • by c0lo (1497653)

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

      There's nothing "Ultra Intelligent" in this kind of systems

      Then... maybe is ultra electronic?

  • Siri is for the most part a front end on wolfram alpha, another search engine....so basically the author is saying that perhaps one search engine is better than another. Unprecedented I know
  • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @07:37PM (#39801997)

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

  • by Malenx (1453851) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:07PM (#39802187)

    A couple of months back my family and I were having a debate whether falling thirty feet would break your legs or kill you, so we asked Siri. She responded back with a list of buildings we could jump off in our area over thirty feet high.

    I'm all for scientific tests... but ouch.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      A couple of months back my family and I were having a debate whether falling thirty feet would break your legs or kill you, so we asked Siri. She responded back with a list of buildings we could jump off in our area over thirty feet high.

      I'm all for scientific tests... but ouch.

      That's rich. Siri has no issues telling people to go jump off a building, but seems to have issues recommending an abortion clinic...

  • Not sure there's much else to say about it, really.

  • Cost for me to type a google query: minimal, but for the sake of argument, we'll say I bought a new Kindle Fire from Amazon for $200

    Minimum cost for me to ask Siri the same thing: $1900.

    So I'm thinking I can put up with typing my questions into google for the difference.

    So yeah, feel free to laugh at the people yelling at Siri through their iphone.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:17PM (#39803235) Homepage

    Hence phrases like "leveraging the cloud and supercomputing capabilities", and "ultra intelligent electronic agents". If anything, the smarts behind Siri comes from Wolfram Alpha, which is a question-answering system for factual questions. Most of the rest of what Siri does is just vertical search.

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

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