Siri has been maligned and criticized in the press quite a bit lately. And rightfully so, Siri’s functionality these days objectively pales in comparison to what we’ve seen from companies like Google and even the surprise success that is the Amazon Echo. That notwithstanding, Siri’s position as a less than service may soon be coming to an end.
With WWDC just around the corner, we’ve started to see a growing number of reports suggesting that Apple will have a slew of compelling Siri-oriented announcements in store for us. In addition to a report claiming that Apple will finally deliver Siri APIs to third-party developers along with a client for the Mac, we’re also seeing word that the core functionality of Siri itself is set to be dramatically improved.
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Over the weekend, we highlighted how the next-gen version of Siri may feature advanced AI technology Apple acquired when it purchased a UK-based company called VocalIQ. And delving deeper into the matter, Tech Insider recently posted an intriguing expose into the specific types of features VocalIQ may eventually bring to the table, hopefully sooner rather than later.
According to the report, Apple decided to pull the trigger on its VocalIQ acquisition after discovering that the software was far more capable than any competing AI software on the market, including Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana.
That being the case, there are a few reasons why a revamped Siri bolstered by VocalIQ’s proprietary technology is so exciting. For starters, VocalIQ’s software supports more natural conversational queries. While Siri has made strides in this area over the past few years, it currently lags way behind Google and the recently unveiled Viv.
Second, VocalIQ can handle multi-layered queries, similar to what we saw Viv show off during their impressive demo earlier this month.
Tech Insider adds:
For example, imagine asking a computer to “Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and WiFi that’s kid-friendly.” That’d trip up most assistants, but VocalIQ could handle it. The result? VocalIQ’s success rate was over 90%, while Google Now, Siri, and Cortana were only successful about 20% of the time, according to one source.
But more than that, VocalIQ is vastly more context-aware than the current incarnation of Siri.
VocalIQ remembers context forever, just like a human can. That’s a massive breakthrough.
Let’s go back to the Chinese restaurant example. What if you change your mind an hour later? Simply saying something like “Find me a Mexican restaurant instead,” will bring you new results, while still taking into account the other parameters like parking and WiFi you mentioned before. Hound, Siri, and any other assistant would make you start the search session over again. But Vocal IQ remembers. That’s more human-like than anything available today.
That’s certainly intriguing, and hopefully Apple will finally wake up to the fact that Siri has some serious catching up to do in an increasingly competitive market.