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Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android 800

Hugh Pickens writes "Gary Morgenthaler, a recognized expert in artificial intelligence and a Siri board member, says that Apple now has at least a two-year advantage over Google in the war for best smartphone platform. 'What Siri has done is changed people's expectations about what's possible,' says Morgenthaler. 'Apple has crossed a threshold; people now expect that you should be able to expect to speak ordinary English — and be understood. Siri has cracked the code.' The threshold, from mere speech recognition to natural language input and understanding, is one that Google cannot cross by replicating the technology or making an acquisition adds Morgenthaler. 'There's no company out there they can go buy.' Morgenthaler's comments echo the recent article in Forbes Magazine, 'Why Siri Is a Google Killer' that says that Apple's biggest advantage over any other voice application out there today is the massive data Siri will collect in the next 2 years — all being stored in Apple's massive North Carolina data center — that will allow Siri to get better and better. 'Siri is a new interface for customers wanting to get information,' writes Eric Jackson. 'At the moment, most of us still rely on Google for getting at the info we want. But Siri has a foot in the door and it's trusting that it will win your confidence over time to do basic info gathering.'"
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Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android

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  • Iris (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:12AM (#37932456)
    Just letting you know that android has a similar service and it was only made in 8 hours time.
    So I suppose this will get alot better

  • Re:Two Years? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Motard ( 1553251 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:32AM (#37932666)

    Even Microsoft has this now. I was playing with voice recognition on a WP7 device and it worked pretty well. "Find Pizza", or "Call Norman" worked as expected. When I asked "What is the meaning of life?" it searched and found a couple of news stories about Siri being asked the same question. It might have been more fun if it came back with a canned answer like Siri does, but I have to wonder if that would've truly been more useful.

    Microsoft's capabilities are also server based and they'll be able to tweak the capabilities fairly easily. All-in-all, I think the VR from iPhone, Android and WP7 are mostly a wash. Google appears to be ahead in other languages though.

  • Re:will never use it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eraesr ( 1629799 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:32AM (#37932672) Homepage
    Talking to a device is just awkward. You try popping out your iPhone 4s in public transport and start giving voice commands to the thing. People will look funny at you. And this won't change in the next two years. So that's why this 2 year head start (assuming that's not hugely over-estimated) is a head start in a direction that's dead to begin with.
  • Re:So true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dintech ( 998802 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:36AM (#37932722)

    I'm an iphone 4s owner and wish that instead of Siri, I had a phone that could actually just not drop calls every 5 minutes. Seriously, the 4s is way worse than my old iphone 3G in this respect.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:41AM (#37932766) Journal
    I am totally soured by most of the automated phone response systems that does voice recognition. All phone systems are irritating but the failure rate in these voice recognition is particularly aggravating. Some allow me to punch in the numbers. Others force me to speak the responses. I speak with a slight South Indian accent, (no stress on stressed syllables, rolled rr-s, pause at unexpected places. I say slight because I have made presentations to large audience and spoken on phone to customers and teleconferences without any problem, without people asking me to repeat, scored 5 out 6 in Test of Spoken English taken when I was a TA in grad school). The voice recognition in GPS devices and cellphones too are very substandard for people with even slight accents. How good is Siri for such groups?

    One thing that really took me by pleasant surprise was Google's non-English transliteration engine built into edit boxes/text compose windows of all google sites. English has just five vowels with y and w coming in very occasionally to support vowel sounds . Most Asian languages have distinct glyphs for at least 12 vowels (long and short forms separated and a few more). Google allows me to type using an English key board, when I hit a space, it changes text to the selected Indian language. If the text is not exact, I press backspace, and it creates a drop down box that typically has a few variations, and I am surprised how good its guesses are about what I was planning to type.

    If Google has been collecting such data about the most common english transliteration for the most common words in other languages, it has a treasure trove of stuff. If that probability engine could be adapted to voice, it would have a global reach. If Siri has an American English focus, its lead is definitely not two years. Do not count the non-native English speakers out. Hispanic population is increasing and they use smart phones to access the net mostly. On the high end, the median family income of Asian Americans is the highest for any ethnic group. Almost double that of Hispanics, the lowest. That probably would make the ratio 3 or even 4 when it comes to disposable income. Citation provided []. Unless they tackle both ends of the income spectrum, siri is not going to make as big a wave as these talking heads are talking about.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by samkass ( 174571 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:48AM (#37932866) Homepage Journal

    I don't have any hard data yet, but anecdotal evidence so far says you're incorrect. ArsTechnica's poll of their employees with a 4S indicate anywhere from 3-15 average Siri uses per day. My wife already prefers it to typing on the phone. I think it's especially interesting since it integrates fairly well with a car's bluetooth integration.

    I can imagine a future screen-less phone that's just a stick with a speaker, mic, and button, with everything being done via voice...

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @09:02AM (#37933044)

    According to the summary, siri is a google killer and makes apple the best smartphone platform.

    For those assumptions to be true, that means that siri has to be something that people want. While I admit there is a somewhat star trekian cool factor by talking to your phone. On*Star has had similar features. Ford's respond to voice commands and read text messages, etc. And yet, people aren't dumping their current cars for these must have features.

    Granted siri is beyond the capabilities of On*Star and the like, but does the public really want to use a phone where you say everything out load for everybody around you to hear, too?

    User on subway: Read Text Message.
    Phone: From Sharon, I think it's time we move on and see other people.
    User on subway: Damn.
    Other riders on subway: Awwwww.

    Don't get me wrong, there are times that this would be useful, but is it a necessity? If not, then how will it kill google ?

  • Re:So true (Score:4, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @10:01AM (#37933948) Homepage Journal

    Siri is based on an open sourced framework. I can't find the page in my search history, but the AI portions were based on a set of DARPA or DOD funded applications. Google already have good AI guys like Peter Norvig too. They will be able to come up with something similar within a few months if they want to.

    I agree that it's likely the voice thing will be seen as more of a toy. It's definitely one that I'd like to play around with, but I don't know if I'd actually use it properly.

  • Re:Iris (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @10:07AM (#37934028) Homepage Journal

    I'd much rather have in-phone implementation of basic voice commands like: "text contact message send text", "navigate to address/business", "add contact name name number number, etc.

    Oh God yes. If you haven't tried Siri, it's considerably worse than existing voice commands for one simple reason: lag.

    The most annoying one is for iPod voice commands. Like, for example, "Play" to start playing whatever's on the iPod app. In earlier iPhones, this was a short pause for it to understand it, and then the music started.

    In Siri, this is now a one second pause for it to round trip to the server, then Siri saying "OK," and then, finally, the music starts playing.

    "navigate to address/business"

    Yeah, you ... can't navigate on iOS. At all. Sure, you can get a list of directions - but good luck following those without driving into something, especially since it won't automatically move through the next steps while you're moving. Annoying as the passenger, impossible as the driver.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"