Siri Notes

Blogging about the Siri Phenomenon

Questioning Apple’s Liberal Arts Cred….

Great piece in Forbes about the Apple-Samsung ruling: Why the Apple vs. Samsung Verdict is a Big Mistake.

My favorite line in the piece:

People copy you, defects and all. Apple’s inability to deal with that should get us asking questions about its liberal arts credentials.

Natural User Interface Talks

Here are links to my two presentations at Speechtek 2012:

Go here for decks of previous talks I have given.


Google Opposed to Naming their Assistant….

I had a good conversation with Google’s Johan Schalkwyk last week at Speechtek, 2012, in NYC, on how Google perceives its Voice Assistant differently from the way Apple has positioned and framed Siri.  It was just after his panel participation (Intelligent Voice Assistants, Part II: Achieving the Vision) and I boiled down my point with him on the rumor that Google is preparing to launch Majel.  “So, should I advertise that Google is NOT coming out with anything called Majel?”  His answer was non-committing: he didn’t say no, even though he had argued vehemently a few minutes earlier that Google doesn’t believe in naming assistants, because such naming comes with all kind of unhelpful, counter-productive anthropomorphizing.  Not his words, but the point was clear: you don’t name your keyboard, so why should you name your voice interface.  Made my usual quick point that language is innately human and you can’t really get around the problem of anthropomorphizing as soon as the thing starts talking to you.  Johan seemed to grasp the point well enough, but insisted that Google gives its projects internal code names and that such names do not always translate to Marketing product names…..  We shall see.


Lexee Platform Announced in Speechtek, NYC

Very proud to announce the launch of Lexee, a new product within the ecosystem of products and solutions that will enable businesses and entrepreneurs to easily build and maintain their very own Multi-Modal Voice Assistant.  The vision: painlessly build your very own specialized Siri.

Here is a piece from Gigaom on the launch announcement.

We are targeting the  GA release of Lexee in the fall.   For more, go to:

Nuance Launches Nina

Quoting article:

Nuance, the company that powers a large number of tools that use voice recognition (including Apple’s Siri) launched its own Siri-like voice-powered “virtual assistant” today that developers can add to their mobile apps. The Nuance Interactive Natural Assistant (Nina) uses the company’s speech recognition technologies and combines them with voice biometrics and an understanding of natural language and the user’s intent to “deliver an interactive user experience that not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it.” At its core, Nina is something akin to a “Siri for apps” and iPhone and Android developers can now start integrating it into their own apps.

Apple’s Siri vs. Samsung’s S Voice

Good piece comparing Siri and S-Voice:

The most obvious difference between the two is actual recognition. Siri seems to interpret and understand queries correctly more often than S Voice, which forces you to repeat commands a number of times in some cases. For example, S Voice couldn’t open Google Play for some strange reason, even after repeated attempts. Siri can’t open apps under its current iteration, including Apple’s native ones, but it was better at understanding song titles, artist names and albums, whereas S Voice struggled and consistently asked to clarify the command.

Virtual Bank Teller Lola Launched…..

SRI has partnered with BBVA to launch a conversational assistant named Lola (after a real human agent apparently) specialized in helping clients with banking chores, from simple ones such as providing a customer’s available balance, to complex ones such as making a monthly mortgage payment.  However, it looks like the application is web based and is not available (yet) on mobile devices.

“Voice Answer” App Hits The App Store

Quoting the article:

Looks like Apple might be loosening its grip even more on voice recognition apps? Or, it simply just feels that the competition is not as good as its own native Siri. We’ve just gotten word from Netherlands-based developer Sparkling Apps that its voice-response app, Voice Answer — rejected by Apple for nearly three months — has been approved by Apple and is now live in the App Store, and usable on any iPhone, iPod or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later.


What’s Cooler than a Mobile Device?

Answer: “A mobile device that does things for you.” At least that’s what this article suggests, arguing that the Next Big thing is not Mobility — Mobility being the Current Big Thing.  The Next Big Thing are robots:

The robot revolution is already happening. Fortune 500 companies are spending a lot of money to acquire robotic companies. Amazon purchased robot-run warehouse Kiva Systems for $775 million. Apple acquired and incorporated Siri into iPhones. Google is making a robot car that drives itself.


Venture Capitalists are noticing the robotics trend and they’re pouring more money into these companies — $160 million in 2011 — than ever before. Soon you’ll be picking out personal robots instead of personal computers from the shelves of stores like Best Buy.
I see evidence of this all over: Mobility is a huge promoter of empowering self-service.   And as Mobile devices become a fundamental part of our daily existence, we will expect those devices to do more — and do those things more efficiently.

Steve Jobs didn’t like the name “Siri”….

Siri founder Dag Kittlaus chats about how Steve Jobs was dazzled by Siri, but how he didn’t like the name “Siri” much — the way he apparently didn’t like the name “Mac”.   

Kittlaus recounted that Jobs wasn’t sold on the Siri name. Kittlaus, therefore, kept lobbying Steve Jobs to keep the Siri name, telling him quite consistently that “it’s a great name.”

Still, Jobs wanted to use something else, but failing to find anything better, decided to stick with “Siri”. What’s particularly interesting about this is that there are similar stories regarding the naming process behind the iMac and the iPod – two products with names Jobs reportedly didn’t care for either but ultimately acquiesced to after not being able to find better alternatives.

Read more at: Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of the Siri name.

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