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Siri Envy? Iris Brings Some Voice-Assistant Features to Android

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the backhanded-compliment dept.

Android 402

Of all the upgrades that distinguish the new iPhone 4S from its predecessors, probably the feature that's gotten the most attention is the voice-based personal assistant app called Siri, which allows a user to accomplish certain tasks almost entirely by voice. A few days ago, as reported by TechCrunch, a team of Android developers came up with an Android equivalent to Siri called Iris (spell that backwards). It took them only 8 hours to have a working, if imperfect, app to play with and submit to the Android Market. This quick video review of Iris says the app is unpolished, but shows promise. For now, it generates some accurate results, and some amusing ones.

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Just like Siri... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806826)

Except not at all. Complete misses the point, again.

Re:Just like Siri... (5, Insightful)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806958)

It's close enough for spec-sheet comparisons, which is pretty much what many Android manufacturers (and more than a few fans of the platform) fall back on.

Butbubut, it's got Super-Ultra-XVSAMOLED, 4+MEGA LTE-MAX and 2TB of flash. As soon as Fruitcake or Peach Flan comes out, it'll totally crush iOS!! Well, yeah, right now it might be a little buggy, and yeah, the interface hangs on occasion, and perhaps it's limited to 3G until the manufacturer releases an update that your carrier might not actually support, but the potential is there! Honest!

Disclosure: I have, and really like, my BlackBerry 9900; I've no skin in this game per se, but Apple really does present a cohesive, usable platform with most of the rough edges filed off. Maybe, maybe ICS will have closed the gap, but this kind of relentless focus on user experience isn't really Android's forte any more than Ubuntu comes even remotely close to Mac OS X.

Disclosure 2: I own both a PlayBook, iPad and LG Optimus Pad. The first and last, despite having box specs that more or less than meet Apple's unit, don't best the daily experience. For example, the PlayBook can play back 1080p; the iPad can maybe manage 720p, but the PlayBook's browser stutters and it's a bastard to type on and it lacks native e-mail. The LG has an even more broken browser (yes, you can get alternatives; they're not much better than stock) and a marginally-better keyboard, and the home screen stutters. How, in this day and age, can you ship a tablet with a subpar browser and mail client, when the 800lb Gorilla in the market nails all the basics perfectly. So they can both play back 1080p and both support Flash? So what?

Half-assed chasing of Siri is the same kind of thing. Apple doesn't own a big chunk of the market (and a bigger chunk of it's profits) because they have the most powerful, first out of the blocks and/or most open. They're doing it because their stuff doesn't exceed consumers' fiddle tolerance.

Re:Just like Siri... (5, Insightful)

ghjm (8918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807186)

I have an HTC Evo and an Apple iPad, so I'm well aware of the capabilities and limitations of both Android and iOS. Yes, there are some rough edges on Android, but there are rough edges on iOS as well. Copy and paste doesn't work very well, multitasking is (by design) mostly nonexistent, and there are many missing features. (For example, I would fuck a water buffalo to get Swype on iOS.) Cursor positioning is also better on Android.

This idea that Apple products are magically easy-to-use and perfectly polished is BS. They are good products, usually with fantastic industrial design, and usually very attractive to look at. But there's no magic to the user interface, and Android is really every bit as good.

Re:Just like Siri... (3, Insightful)

netsharc (195805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807326)

Yeah, the first iPhone OS was well thought-of and intuitive, but after that it just relies on the user having to know some secrets to get it to work, e.g., who would've figured out that double-tapping the Home button on the lock screen would load Siri? That to move icons, group or delete apps on the home screen you have to hold them until they wiggle, and to group them you have to drag one onto another? Intuitive my butt...

Not that Android apps are any better. On some apps, hitting back actually means "go to the previous screen", even if that means leaving that app. But on my music player, if I load it, it goes to the "Now Playing" screen, which is the least useful screen since I can pause or skip songs on that screen, but I can do that from outside the app as well, so why would it show me that screen? Ok this is just nitpicking, it can't read my mind. But usually I open up the music app because I want to load up a different song. So I press the music app icon, I see the "Now playing" screen. Let's see, how do I see all songs? I press the menu button. No such option. I hit back. Ah, there it is. Real fucking intuitive..!

Re:Just like Siri... (1, Insightful)

ghjm (8918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807372)

I agree that the inconsistent behavior of the back button in Android apps is annoying, but at least the back button doesn't move around. The thing I find most irritating about iOS is that there is *no* standard for in-app behavior. If I want to go back to the previous screen, I have to hunt around for the appropriate button, figure out what the developer decided to call it, etc, etc.

Re:Just like Siri... (4, Insightful)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807222)

Considering Apple is pushing Siri but explaining away all it's faults by claiming "uh, well, it's uh. . Still in beta," I'd say your entire post is moot.

Siri is a gimick. It doesn't make the phone any more useful. Neither does Iris. Having a dick-measuring contest between the two is stupid, especially since they BOTH suck right now, and BOTH will presumably get better.

Re:Just like Siri... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807270)

Fuck you! Just fuck you!
Most Google products are still beta and even more are of beta quality.
Google App Engine is Beta and they even charge money for that bullcrap, right?

Re:Just like Siri... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807310)

Yeah after looking at Siri I don't have any use for a Siri clone. It's one of those things that's good for 5 minutes of novelty value and impressing friends who haven't used up their 5 minutes yet.

Re:Just like Siri... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807366)

Comparing Ubuntu and Google is unfair. Google still don't understand design. Even a lot of designers don't understand things like "natural mapping". Ubuntu has improved a lot, and you can tell they take it seriously, and no, I'm not saying "It's improved so much in the last 5 years, everybody can use it now!"

Re:Just like Siri... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807010)

Yep. In the same way that jacking off to the JC Penny lingerie ads is like getting pussy.

Re:Just like Siri... (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807138)

Did they build in all the easter eggs? Siri took a ton of work by multiple developers. You may be able to replicate 80% of the functionality. Heck, the original iPod had 80% of the functionality of every other mp3 player on the market. It was the 20% that set Apple apart.

Re:Just like Siri... (1)

ghjm (8918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807194)

What are you talking about? The original iPod had far less functionality than every other mp3 player on the market at the time. It is the scale of Apple and the ecosystem that emerges around their products that makes them compelling. The original iPod was not even very well designed from a usability point of view!

Re:Just like Siri... (3, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807240)

If it responds more than 25% of the time with a useful response, then yes indeed it is nothing like Siri.

If it responds with a useful response less than 25% of the time, then yeah it is pretty much the same.

You miss the point (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807250)

What part of "8 hours" didn't you understand?

Why not just wave your arm in the air... (2, Informative)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806838)

...and shout, "Me too! Me too!"

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (2)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806860)

Like Apple did when they introduced Siri? ...cuz, Android had voice recognition and commands long ago. Admittedly, Siri is superior... now. But, DON'T EVEN.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806912)

Actually if you want to be pedantic, Apple had them before Android. iOS was released a year before Android and it's always had basic voice commands.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (5, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806938)

Siri is much more than voice recognition. However, it was not developed by Apple. It was a 3rd party application created out of a bigger AI product, and was originally going to target all the smartphone platforms. Apple simply bought the firm and the technology, and shut down development for other platforms.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (3, Interesting)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807068)

I'm still forced to have BB for work, but my wife has android. She has had a few voice apps and not sure which one she is currently using, but I think it may be called something like vlingo (or at least one of them was). She now does just about everything by voice. When she is in the car she turns on a setting and whenever she receives a text the phone announces who sent the text and reads it to her, etc, etc, etc.

Haven't seen Siri, but seems Android has "had some apps for that" for some time.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807354)

And so is the equivalent that Google Voice Actions provides, apart from not being able to set appointments, I don't see anything that Siri can do that Google Voice Actions can't. The only major difference I see is natural language support with Siri, but it's still limited to the same basic list of tasks and comes with the downside of having to figure out what's being said and match that up to a particular command rather than just identifying the command.

Looking at the list of Siri features, I'm not seeing anything that makes me want Siri.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (5, Insightful)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806982)

Apple didn't shout "Me too!". They quietly demonstrated how well it worked.

There are people who are going to think Apple did it first, just like they do with GUIs, smartphones and tablets. The onus is on the whole rest of the industry to start delivering products and services that work as well as Apple's do so that Apple can't keep using that strategy. Currently, the whole rest of the industry seems content to look like chumps and, yes, "Me-too"-ists.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (1)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807042)

There are people who are going to think Apple were first to do it for the masses, just like they do with GUIs, smartphones and tablets.

And they were.

Okay, that's probably not what you meant, but it's more accurate. At the end of the day, if the nerds don't care for Apple and would rather use something else, fine. But to argue that there's some value in being first when your product "exceeded consumers' fiddle tolerance" (great way to put it earlier, sarhjinian, I thank you) and not enough people bought it to make it huge... well, that's just silly.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806992)

iOS has had voice commands since at least the release of the 3GS. Siri replaces it.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (5, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807146)

Android voice recognition is equivalent to voice commands. "Open Internet Explorer... Highlight Search Box... Type 'weather, return.'"

Siri is a heck of a lot more interesting. Siri is a first grasp at understanding intent. "Is it going to rain tomorrow?" "Text my wife that I'll be there in 5 minutes." "Remind me at 6PM tomorrow to call the doctor." "How do I get home?"

Now, it's not perfect. Siri is damned slow, when it runs at all. And it works a lot better in the sorts of quiet places where you probably shouldn't be talking into a phone. And it was bought by apple, rather than being initially developed by them. But it's interesting in that it forms relational databases about the world around you, and starts to correlate bits of information. It's not just voice recognition, it's meaning recognition.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807190)

I'd expect it to be used in the car for it's handsfree capability. And in a one-man office for it's dictation ability. The office is going to be quiet. How does it perform in a car? I'm guessing that ordinary car noises won't particularly disrupt it, but who's tried it?

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (3, Funny)

PNutts (199112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807266)

Siri is a heck of a lot more interesting. Siri is a first grasp at understanding intent. "Is it going to rain tomorrow?" "Text my wife that I'll be there in 5 minutes." "Remind me at 6PM tomorrow to call the doctor." "How do I get home?"

We told SIri, "Eat shit" and she listed local restaurants in order from worst to best.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807374)

Those are all things you can do with Google Voice Actions. Admittedly you're restricted in terms of how you phrase it, but it's dishonest to suggest that any of that stuff doesn't work with Google Voice Actions.

Siri is ultimately at a disadvantage for taking that route, because ultimately it has to have much better comprehension of the spoken words as it can't count on matching just most of the command before worrying about what to do with the input. Basically it's the difference between Palm's Graffiti and whatever you call the MS Win CE version that was much more flexible in how the user drew the letters.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (5, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807256)

Like Apple did when they introduced Siri? ...cuz, Android had voice recognition and commands long ago. Admittedly, Siri is superior... now. But, DON'T EVEN.

Are you sure about that? Apple released Voice control with the iPhone 3GS on June 19, 2009 and demoed it on Jun 8, 2009. Google followed with Voice Commands in Froyo (2.2) about a year later but supporting only a fraction of the languages supported by the Apple feature.

Siri is more advanced than Voice Control/Voice Commands in that it understands natural language, can remember things like who your wife is, where your work is and where home is and then follow commands in the future when you mention those things. It also is able to follow the context of a conversation. So if you ask about London, England in the previous question and then ask "What's the weather like today", Siri infers that you are asking about London instead of where you currently are unless if you say "What's the weather like here?".

Siri is the off shoot of work at DARPA with SRI international on the PAL/CALO project. PAL stand for Personal Assistant that Learns. Good luck implementing AI in a couple of days.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (3, Funny)

DesignShark (595848) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806872)

It's more like, "We can replicate your revolutionary new technology in 8 hours, big woop."

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806926)

Except, of course, for the part where they couldn't do anything remotely like that.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807076)

For sufficiently limited definitions of remotely, correct.

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807128)

What happens when you tell it to call your wife? What happens when you tell it to remind you to buy milk when you leave work?

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806890)

Why should they not make a voice command thingy? Is it an unnecessary feature, in your opinion? I think it might be useful, so I think it should be done Irregardespectively of whether if the Apple phone has one or not. (i.e. moot!)

Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806988)

Why would you shout "Me too! Me too!" if you don't care?

What would be funny? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806848)

Know what would be really funny though?
Think about the world where Android had the whole "Voice Assistant" feature first, then Apple would copy it from them and present as something original.
Then Slashdot would run a story about how unfortunately one (and only one) new feature of the new iPhone 4S was copied from Android.

Re:What would be funny? (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806868)

Please tell me you're not stupid enough (or ignorant enough) to think Siri is the same thing that Android has had. If you are, you're a moron or such a fanboy that you can't bother to understand the substantial differences.

Re:What would be funny? (1)

mehemiah (971799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806968)

uh what? that was hypothetical. He says "what if" android had the whole combination of voice recognition and lingual interpretation that Siri is, and had it first.

They stole that from Steve too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806850)

In a couple days, Steve is going to roll away the stone, and sue all the Android people, then nuke them all from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.

attention editors: (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806852)

do you even north checking if things like links work?

Re:attention editors: (2)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806950)

do you even north checking if things like links work?

It's not like anybody clicks those things... so why bother?

Re:attention editors: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807198)

No no, you got it completely wrong. Extremely many slashdotters click on the links, thats why sites get slashdotted. Don't confuse "clicking on the links" with "reading the fine article", that's something completely different.

Jeez (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806856)

Just copy everything then. Does Android do anything original?

Re:Jeez (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806896)

hurr bunch of random developers develop an app
durr rag on android as a platform for not being original enough

Re:Jeez (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806920)

Does Android do anything original?

Because Siri is original? And so is a black rectangle with rounded edges?

Re:Jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806970)

Because Siri is original? And so is a black rectangle with rounded edges?

So, is this still an point FOR Android that STILL gets modded up two points? Doh!
Slashdot is full of fuck!

Re:Jeez (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807014)

So, is this still an point FOR Android that STILL gets modded up two points? Doh! Slashdot is full of fuck!

If you weren't so quick to rag on anything that points out the hypocrisy of Apple and it's supporters, you would have noticed that my post hasn't been modded up at all yet.

Re:Jeez (5, Informative)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806932)

Siri was developed from technology created at the SRI in Palo Alto. It was a company which used technology spun of from CALO and PAL, two major (and intertwined) research initiatives funded partially by public funds. Siri spun off and began developing for iOs, Android and the Blackberry.

Apple simply bought Siri and shut down development for Android and the Blackberry. The core technologies remain available at https://pal.sri.com/Plone [sri.com] - it is not a matter of Apple having developed anything original at all.

Re:Jeez (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806986)

Does Android do anything original?

Yes. They don't do the whole walled garden thing, and there are many Android phones not all made by the same company.

You know, Steve Jobs wanted to "help the world" yet at the same time, keep all innovation and barriers to entry high and out reach from many citizens ability to afford. Well Steve, you may be a genius. But you're still another baby-boomer hippie asshole!!!

Re:Jeez (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807104)

One, the affordable (as in, cheap and uncontracted) Android phones utterly suck to use, so much so that you're probably better with a dumbphone. Two, for consumers, the "barrier" on both is equivalent, after both application quality as well as carrier and OEM reticence to update. Three, if you can handle a contracted phone, iOS devices aren't very expensive at all.

I mean, yes, Apple could make Nokia-style featurephones for the third-world, but that's not something they could do profitably, nor have any at expertise doing.

So, yeah, in that sense they're just another company. It would be nice, though, if the whole rest of the industry didn't keep trying to fight on Apple's terms. RIM is probably the only vendor even remotely able to do this (Nokia seems to have given up) and even they're getting their side of the script written for them.

"How is Iris like Siri?" (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806864)

You asked "How is Iris like Siri?"
"One moment ... I don't know."

"How is Iris different from Siri?"
You asked "How is Iris different from Siri?"
"One moment ... Iris is backwards."

"Should this have been posted on slashdot?"
You asked "Should this have been posted on slashdot?"
"One moment ... That is what idle.slashdot.org is for."

"Do I look lame talking to my phone when nobody's there?"
You asked "Do I look lame talking to my phone when nobody's there?"
"As opposed to the rest of the time?"

Re:"How is Iris like Siri?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806944)

"Siri Envy?"
You asked "Are you envious of Siri?"
"One moment...No. Are you supposed to be?".

No, Siri-ously (3, Interesting)

xkr (786629) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806870)

This reminds me of when the Chinese tried to copy a 747. They made it out of wood, and got the center of gravity wrong. Is it a plane?

In the youtube demo, it missed every question.

Re:No, Siri-ously (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806978)

In the youtube demo, it missed every question.

Proving it is just like Siri.

Re:No, Siri-ously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807150)

I would say Siri is about 97% accurate for me so far. Is English (or German or French) not your first language?

Typical of the Android community (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806874)

Garbage by academic let alone product standards, a me-too for the sake of not feeling too bad.

similar tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806880)

Yeah because android developers can similar technology within a few days. Maybe they've been developing it for awhile? Only to have Apple release theirs first.

Its stupid like Siri is stupid. (0)

SalsaDoom (14830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806886)

Whats the point of this crap? Are you seriously going to walk around talking to your damn phone? You look like a moron just talking to someone on a bluetooth headset and thats at least practical for some things. Now Apple thinks whats really the next cool looking is jabbering to your phone and not even to someone on the other end. Google could have pretty easily passed on this one, trust me, the shine of "look at me talk to my phone" is going to wear off pretty fast when you actually try to use it in public somewhere.

For centuries humans have used talking-to-objects as a quick and easy way to identify the crazy people. Its going to take a long time for that particular bit of practicality to lose its meaning.

Stupid copy of a stupid idea.

Re:Its stupid like Siri is stupid. (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806940)

You should probably tell that to the people who have been working on voice recognition for decades. There is an obvious want/need for it, and only now is the processing power available via either the net or locally to make it worthwhile. This has been the geek dream for years to be able to talk to their computer (star trek). Claiming it's a non-story smacks of a little envy. I have no doubt that the Android developers will eventually get something more workable and similar to Siri, but this is not it.

The demo looks more like pre-alpha.

Re:Its stupid like Siri is stupid. (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807046)

You have a good point. Background noise is one of the many reasons why I refuse to talk to a machine when calling a company.

Personally, I have no use for this. I've had Google Voice on my Android phone for quite some time but the only time I use it is for hands-free dialing and navigation.

Re:Its stupid like Siri is stupid. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807172)

First, if you're bounded by what random people on the street think you, I feel sad for you.

Second, people use their phone in other places, like their homes, cars and such.

Third, Google didn't make this, some random company did.

Re:Its stupid like Siri is stupid. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807300)

I know everyone doesn't commute to work, but don't you see how this might appeal to people whose hands/attention is otherwise occupied?

Speaking of missing the point... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806894)

I'm fairly certain that most of the people who love this app marvel in the ridiculousness of trying to hold a conversation with your phone. The fact that 8 hours of work can get you pretty close to this "revolutionary" feature Apple invented out of the blue simply underscores the millions of idiots now asking their phones what the weather is instead of touching a homescreen widget that shows them a nice graph of temperature and precipitation over the next 24 hours as well as a whole week's worth of weather forecasts in an instant.

Re:Speaking of missing the point... (2)

bmuon (1814306) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806930)

I think the ones that missed the point were the developers and reporters. The whole point of an AI helper is that it behaves as if it were alive, and there is absolutely no way you can accomplish that in 8 hours of work. It's the details that matter for the life-like experience, not the general idea.

Re:Speaking of missing the point... (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806952)

Absolutely. I'm doing it right now on the highwa#@#??AstXA

Unpolished?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806928)

unpolished, but shows promise

What? On Android? Impossible!

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806934)

There are a lot of us who don't want to be talking TO our phones, only THROUGH them.

A few hours? (3, Interesting)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806936)

mmmmk.

The real Siri grew out of one of the largest artificial intelligence Darpa funded projects ever. Then SRI raised 24 million to continue development. Then Apple bought the company and threw a lot of man hours refining it further.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri_(software) [wikipedia.org]

And they successfully copied it in a few hours? Should fit right in on the Android app store.

Re:A few hours? (5, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806984)

The core technology is available for download from SRI's website. Siri had exclusive licensing within a domain, but that was with the understanding that it would be cross-platform in the smart-phone sector. If Apple doesn't restart development for Android etc., it may make an interesting case whether they can keep exclusivity on non-iOs platforms.

....and it still is useless. (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807204)

I think anyone in the media talking up Siri has never actually tried to use the thing. It hardly every understands what you want the first time without clarification, it doesn't work without a constant network location, it can't read back any answers to queries (just pops stuff up on the screen)... its pretty much useless as a real voice control solution. And yes, I *DO HAVE IT* unlike some reviewers.

Re:....and it still is useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807294)

You're holding it wrong.
Posted though android voice recognition on my Toshiba thrive.

Wow, only 8 hours?!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806946)

Only 8 hours to excrete another Android cr-app?

roll your own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806962)

Get a real gnu/linux phone instead and put some open source speech recognition on it from http://simon-listens.org/ [simon-listens.org]

It might be less shiny and it might not be as good, technically, but it's free as in freedom. Don't you like freedom? Terrorists don't like freedom. Don't be a terrorist.

Android innovation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806964)

I am afraid to comment, cos the android guys would copy it very quickly.

"Shows promise"? "Accurate results"? (1)

Pento (115091) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806972)

It reminds me of DragonDictate, in that there is no connection between what I say and what it thinks I said. Google Voice Search does a better job of imitating Siri than Iris does.

It's crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37806976)

It couldn't even tell me how many Volkswagens were available at the market.

How some become rich, but you are annoyed (0)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806980)

1) Invent new feature that is sure to revolutionize the computer world. 2) No one wants it, so you are driven from the market in shame. 3) 10 years later, Apple re-introduces the feature no one wanted. 4) Market goes crazy and Apple becomes rich. Much head-shaking ensues. 5) Copycats try to reproduce the feature, but fail because they are not Apple. 6) This is really annoying.

Re:How some become rich, but you are annoyed (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807126)

You forgot to mention that the reason no one wanted your feature was that in spite of its awesome potential, you were so excited to see it working that you did not polish it enough to be usable. Then Apple comes along, does the polishing, and everybody loves it. The copycats think they can do the same thing cheaper without the polishing, and discover that the polish is the most important part of the whole thing.

Honestly, I love to bash Apple's policies as much as the next guy, but you have to admit they do one thing almost nobody else does: wait for a product to fully mature before releasing it. It seems they are the only ones with enough time/money/developers/balls/brains/whatever to suck it up and delay the release by the extra 6 months needed to get 99.99% of the bugs out, not just 99% of them. The comments above all point out how lots of Android tablets best the iPad on paper, but in reality totally suck to use. The fact that Apple consistently puts in the effort to make their software user friendly is what gives them their status in the market today.

(My first and only experience with tablets and Android was a Viewsonic G-tablet I bought a few weeks ago, and have since returned because of a bad sound card. But even so, the stock interface was total crap, and it was only reasonably usable under Cyanogenmod. It's not hard to see how an iPad could beat that.)

Re:How some become rich, but you are annoyed (0)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807210)

Honestly, I love to bash Apple's policies as much as the next guy, but you have to admit they do one thing almost nobody else does: wait for a product to fully mature before releasing it.

Is why the help application didn't work properly for months on Tiger? Pretty basic thing to overlook. Having to get my soldering iron out to replace the battery in my iPod Touch isn't exactly the epitome of user friendliness either, and neither is Safari crashing frequently on it.

iris not siri ? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37806990)

Good thing, Apple didn't name it Anna or Bob

Re:iris not siri ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807038)

Or "Gabehcuod"

Re:iris not siri ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807124)

Microsoft already did Bob.

Vlingo does it better. (1, Troll)

Eric Freyhart (752088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807036)

Try Vlingo from the Android Market. Does exactly what Siri does, been out for a year, and its better, and its free. I never understood why everyone buying an Apple Fondlebrick thinks they invented it first.

Re:Vlingo does it better. (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807182)

Try Vlingo from the Android Market. Does exactly what Siri does, been out for a year, and its better, and its free.

I never understood why everyone buying an Apple Fondlebrick thinks they invented it first.

ask your vlingo for the meaning of life
then tell it your drunk
and want to fuck

compare to siri, this is why people are in love with siri, it understands language, not words

Re:Vlingo does it better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807228)

Siri sounds pretty worthless as anything but a toy for the simple minded. The rest of us will continue using the superior alternatives.

Telling Siri you're drunk is probably hilarious the first time. Maybe even the second time, since Siri typically contains two different canned responses. If you're still amused the third time, well.. the iPhone needs users, too.

Re:Vlingo does it better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807292)

"The rest of you" is about 10 people because, outside of Siri, no one really uses voice control. Why? Because it sucks.

Re:Vlingo does it better. (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807304)

Uhhh, those questions are what friends are for. Sorry, nevermind - forgot I was answering someone on /.....

Re:Vlingo does it better. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807252)

I'm not sure it does "exactly what Siri does"; from the demos I've seen of Vlingo it accomplishes the same things but in a different way, and the way something is done can have a big impact on usability.

What's really impressive about Siri isn't the voice recognition; Android phones have been doing that from the start. What's really impressive is its natural language processing abilities. I haven't used either, but from I've seen both apps allow you to search and handle messaging with voice control, but Siri allows you to interact with the app in a much more natural way -- more like talking to a person than speaking an incantation.

Does it matter? Impressive as the linguistic abilities Siri displays are, at present I don't think it matters very much. You can get the job done without needing an AI assistant that understands the difference between a definite and indefinite article or can figure out what a pronoun referring back to an earlier sentence means. As the applications become more ambitious, maybe.

Re:Vlingo does it better. (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807356)

Yes, it's been out on Android for a year. Which means it was behind all the other phone platforms for availability of Vlingo.

BlackBerry Jun 2008
iPhone Dec 2008
Nokia May 2009
Windows Mobile June 2009
Android March 2010

The difference with Vlingo is the processing is done on a web-service. So you need a data connection, if you have a limited data plan you'll use some of it, it doesn't integrate as well with the built-in apps as Siri does.

As to which is better, that takes someone do do a side by side review of the two. Which I'm damn sure you haven't.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=siri+vs+vlingo&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&ei=jG2jTrXUDNK78gP96cDKBQ [google.co.uk]

I can do that too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807082)

Siri, write me an Android app that does exactly what you do.

The thing about Siri that's missing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37807092)

...is a voice with a young, slight Indian accent. The whole computer voice thing totally throws off the believability.

I believe (1)

OnB (1857848) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807100)

Apple has a patent for all permutations of the letters 's', 'i', 'r' and 'i'

This will clearly go to court

Very much a work in progress (4, Funny)

general_re (8883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807118)

Some sample queries I fed Iris:

Q: Where can I get a cheeseburger?
A: The bank.

Q: What's the weather like in (my town) tomorrow?
A: Now in (my town) the temperature varies between low points of 26C and highs of 36C (79F and 97F). The conditions are light rain showers during the day. The day after that the temperature will vary between 26C and 37C (79F and 99F) and the conditions will be sunny weather.

(It didn't rain today, and despite the impressive range of temps - way to cover your bases, Iris - it still muffed the highs for today and tomorrow.)

Q: What time is it in Hong Kong?
A: October 23rd 2011, 8:24:52 HKST

Q: Where is the nearest Wal Mart?
A: Probably Washington. It's a state border.

(I live on the east coast.)

Q: What's the population of Canada?
A: The population of Canada is approximately 33,100,000.

Q: How far is it from Chicago to New York?
A: 1,145.16 kilometers (711.57 miles).

Q: Where can I get a recipe for cheesecake?
A: En la esquina, con minifalda.

(Yes, it really said that in Spanish.)

So, yeah - a work in progress. It had no trouble recognizing every single question, it just fell down on many of the answers.

Re:Very much a work in progress (4, Funny)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807290)

Some sample queries I fed Iris:
Q: Where can I get a recipe for cheesecake?

A: En la esquina, con minifalda.
(Yes, it really said that in Spanish.)

So, yeah - a work in progress. It had no trouble recognizing every single question, it just fell down on many of the answers.

Oh, man that was awesome. Thanks for making my day.

En la esquina, con minifalda. English:"In the corner, wearing a miniskirt."

Actually (4, Informative)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807120)

Actually, if you really want to see anything that comes close to Siri, it's speaktoit. It's available for free from the Android Market and is very similar to Siri.

My Iris of the day (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807140)

What should I do today?
A: You should hate stairs

Already done? (1)

Miktor (1285622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807166)

The voice recognition search function, is already able to do a few tasks, though it can't do as much as Siri.

If this is the best it can do - no thanks! (0)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807196)

Iris, anything new on Facebook?

Iris: 'Sup dawg. I heard you liked Facebook, so I put some Facebook in your Facebook so you could Facebook while you Facebook!

http://bwrequintn.com/ (1)

ggtime90 (2463298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807218)

It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel

http://bwrequintn.com/ [bwrequintn.com]

haha (1)

dezent (952982) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807268)

"and that it took them only 8 hours to have a working, if imperfect, app to play with" Wow they made something that is not working in 8 hours, impressive

compared (1)

theBully (1056930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37807336)

Q: what is the answer to life, the universe and Everything?
Siri : 42
Iris: Nothing
I think the difference in computing power is obvious!!!
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