iri, the iPhone 4S's new voice assistant, is fun, helpful, and sometimes even a bit wacky. But Siri is also changing the way we search for and interact with information: You ask it a question and it dishes out quick, accurate answers — in human (or at least human-like) speech. The new standard Siri sets is one Google can't necessarily equal by simply "replicating the technology or making an acquisition," says Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable. Apple is at least two years ahead, and will keep evolving Siri. (Watch a Siri demonstration here.) Could Apple's affable assistant be a "Google killer"?
Yep. Siri will "cripple" Google: "Apple is training you," says Eric Jackson at Forbes, "to lean on Siri" for all your information gathering. That means moving away from Googling search terms. Siri will only get better as it collects data, "knowing you perhaps better than you know yourself." Once Siri is opened up to third-party apps like Yelp and OpenTable, watch out, because Siri will go "ballistic." Considering Siri's tremendous promise, we truly "might be watching the beginning of the end for Google."
"Why Siri is a Google killer"
But Android already has voice recognition: Not so fast, Matias Duarte, director of Android OS user experience, tells Slash Gear. Google's mobile operating system has had voice recognition built into it for a while now. Ours just doesn't have a quirky personality like Siri. Think of it like Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Siri is like George Lucas' C-3PO: "Comic relief." Android's voice assistant? It's closer to the technology aboard the Starship Enterprise: "...Every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware." There's no silly personality. It's just a really helpful computer.
"Google says Siri like Star Wars, Android more like Star Trek"
IBM should be worried about Siri, too: Remember the "impressive Jeopardy! performance" of Watson, IBM's voice-recognizing super computer? says Vinnie Mirchandani of Deal Architect. IBM has been marketing "Watson's natural interface for months now," and there aren't even many commercial applications yet. The company will have to move much more quickly to stay competitive with Apple. "It reminds me of the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where the swordsman makes a lot of noise, and Indy just pulls out his gun and shoots him." Siri is Indiana Jones: "Usable, affordable, nimble."
"IBM and Indiana Jones"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: April 16, 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- How to be more satisfied with your life, according to science
- Can these 4 couples really afford their dream houses?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
Subscribe to the Week