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Siri Competitor Evi Arrives, But Already Overloaded

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-how-much-does-evi-resemble-microsoft-bob? dept.

AI 233

mikejuk writes "Evi, a new rival to Siri, Apple's voice-driven personal assistant, has made its debut on both the iPhone and Android. And people are so keen to that Evi's servers are overloaded — so be prepared for a wait for answers." The app costs 99 cents for iOS users, but it's free on Android.

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SpeakToIt Assistant (2, Informative)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861033)

Was there first.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861057)

Maybe so but look at the permissions that SpeakToIt Assistant requires. It's a bit scary:

THIS APPLICATION HAS ACCESS TO THE FOLLOWING:
SERVICES THAT COST YOU MONEY
DIRECTLY CALL PHONE NUMBERS
Allows the application to call phone numbers without your intervention. Malicious applications may cause unexpected calls on your phone bill. Note that this does not allow the application to call emergency numbers.
SEND SMS MESSAGES
Allows application to send SMS messages. Malicious applications may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861075)

Yes, scary, but isn't that expected? Isn't one of the features of Siri calling and texting people for you?

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861099)

Perhaps but I am not sure if it means without intervention (i.e. I am in another room and it sends a text to a premium number) or if it means I tell it to call X and it does so without me confirming. The latter would be OK obviously since I am authorizing it. I guess it just needs clarification as one way is bad whereas the other is expected.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861343)

Perhaps but I am not sure if it means without intervention (i.e. I am in another room and it sends a text to a premium number) or if it means I tell it to call X and it does so without me confirming. The latter would be OK obviously since I am authorizing it. I guess it just needs clarification as one way is bad whereas the other is expected.

Isn't the assumption that it will only call and text when you ask it to? If they wanted to rack up charges on your phone bill by making unauthorized calls and text's, it's not like they'd put that in the terms of use. Do you really need them to clarify it?

"Note: This application will make phone calls and send SMS messages to premium phone numbers. This will cause your phone bill to skyrocket and will give us millions of dollars of extra revenue. All your base are belong to us."

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861577)

"Note: This application will make phone calls and send SMS messages to premium phone numbers. This will cause your phone bill to skyrocket and will give us millions of dollars of extra revenue."

I believe that app is called "teenager"...

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (4, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861783)

If they wanted to rack up charges on your phone bill by making unauthorized calls and text's, it's not like they'd put that in the terms of use.

That app is so invasive that it even managed to usurp your Slashdot account while you were typing and slip a completely superfluous, meaningless apostrophe into your use of the word "texts." These new apps are really insidious.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (3, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861375)

If you give permission to text or call to an app, you don't get to choose to let it do so only when you mean it. Android phones don't come with fMRI or MEG to know your intentions.

Yet.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861525)

MRI? iPhones will pop a confirmation asking if you want to dial a number when you initiate a call from outside the dialer. I think that's a potentially reasonable compromise somewhere between nothing and mind reading.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861681)

I'd assume it just means that you use your voice to command the app to make the call, it asks if that's what you meant, and then you just tell the app yes. So it doesn't require you to make any confirmations outside of the app itself. Though I don't have it, so I could be wrong.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (2)

serber (574286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38862013)

Unless this has changed in recent APIs, no it doesn't - the web browser does, but otherwise if you open the url "tel:somenumber" it will just start dialing.

I never tried, but assume if you tried to submit an app that wasn't, say, an address book, it would get rejected if their wasn't a prompt first. Certainly if I'd published an app that did that I would have had a prompt.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (4, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861393)

Yes, and though I love Siri, it would be easy to be the victim of a prank. One of my coworkers used Siri to text my boss the word 'buttface', even though the phone was locked. I can set it to require unlock, and I may have to, but it does affect the usefulness of Siri.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861159)

Thats a shorter list then what Evi asks for. Frankly, I think I'll wait till Googles version "Iris".

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (3, Informative)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861173)

Iris already exists: Iris for Android [android.com]

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861181)

Well OK then.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (3, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861175)

Microsoft will kill Iris with their own sentient copycat, "Zero". Then Zero will get stricken by melancholy [youtube.com] and drown out its sorrows by searching on Bing.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (1)

CodeReign (2426810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861245)

Eh? I like my phone just taking orders when I long press the search button. Fuck talking back to me.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (5, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861297)

DIRECTLY CALL PHONE NUMBERS

1. Purchase pay-to-call and pay-to-sms services
2. Stand on street corner with megaphone yelling out instructions for phones to dial and message my numbers
3. Profit!

In fact you could just buy ads during popular TV shows that clearly speak the same instructions...

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861351)

DIRECTLY CALL PHONE NUMBERS

1. Purchase pay-to-call and pay-to-sms services 2. Stand on street corner with megaphone yelling out instructions for phones to dial and message my numbers 3. Profit!

In fact you could just buy ads during popular TV shows that clearly speak the same instructions...

Hey, keep that on the down low.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861445)

dont you have to press a button to activate the listening?

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861473)

In fact you could just buy ads during popular TV shows that clearly speak the same instructions...

Or put it in a YouTube video and then Rickroll as many people as possible.

Not a real competitor to Siri (1, Insightful)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861069)

Putting all of Siri's capabilities that Evi can't match aside, we still got something that isn't built into the OS like Siri is. I don't see a reason to use this versus Siri unless you are on Android or an older iPhone.

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861145)

Why do you consider that a good thing? Are you a big Internet Explorer fan? I'd much rather have functionality independently selectable so that I can choose which I want, and upgrade it (or not) as I choose.

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861325)

IE9 is a pretty nice browser for casuals. The same as Siri -- the majority of users will never need more.

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (1, Funny)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861153)

Or a Hipster.

"Yes, I use an Apple device. Yes, I have Siri. But, I don't want to be that tethered to Apple."

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (4, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861355)

Putting all of Siri's capabilities that Evi can't match aside, we still got something that isn't built into the OS like Siri is. I don't see a reason to use this versus Siri unless you are on Android or an older iPhone.

Is that really a factor in evaluating the app? If this app works better than Siri, will you refuse to run it because it's not built-in to the OS? Obviously if it's not better than Siri then there's no reason to switch from Siri.

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (1)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861423)

I'd love something as seamless as Siri. No option exists on android for querying/adding calendar appointments, and I'd find more practical use for that than most of the things Siri does. All in all though, the Google Voice Actions (is that the real name?) seem to do okay for me. Sure I can't say "where can I get some coffee?" with perfect results, but saying "Nearest coffee shop" works okay for me.

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (2)

catbutt (469582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861505)

Even if it isn't a competitor now, it could certainly become one. "Built into the OS" isn't so much a good thing, although having access to everything it needs, is. If this service can do the hard part, it isn't that big a deal for Android to add API's to allow apps like this to work as seamlessly as Siri.

Re:Not a real competitor to Siri (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861529)

It's a competitor in the same way that eating poop is a competitor to eating filet mignon.

Re:SpeakToIt Assistant (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861303)

Similarly, the developer's claim to be "The world's first question-answering platform" is a bit of a brazen lie, especially when Ask Jeeves produces a perfectly good inline answer to their demo-question "Is pink single?".

Am I the only one that gets The Rage over bullshit claims like that?

(Jeeves tells me he is 14 years old)

Brazilian SIRI is awesome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861677)

Hi!
Brazil is the fucking dump of the world.
North Corea is better.
Nothing but prostitutes and thieves.
Only place where the PEOPLE are
worse than their horrible government.

HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PLACE.

I hope all brazilians die of cancer.

Old news (5, Informative)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861051)

Not only has this been out for approaching a week, but it's also far from a competitor. It uses the standard voice services to transcribe what you say, then 'helpfully' google it for you or open a webpage. It most certainly can't do what Siri does, even when it is (rarely) working. You can ask Siri where to get a sandwich. Asking Evi just results in the homepage for UrbanSpoon.com launching. Not even a search for what you want. When's that Majel thing coming?

Re:Old news (3, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861191)

I love all the hate about how its broken it isnt working all the time.... remember when siri came out it was the SAME problem???

Re:Old news (2)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861237)

I don't mind that it's having trouble scaling to demand, but even if it was fully functional it still wouldn't be a Siri competitor any more than my thumbs are because they can type a URL. I want to be able to add something to my calendar, or ask where the closet X is.

Re:Old news (5, Informative)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861377)

I want to be able to add something to my calendar, or ask where the closet X is.

What's so strange is that the things people bring up when they talk about Siri are the same things that other apps have been able to do for ages.

When Siri came out, there was a user here bragging that he could tell Siri that he was "hungry for Mexican food" and it would bring up a list of Mexican restaurants in his area. Well, I press the convenience key on my Blackberry and, surprise surprise, saying "I'm hungry for Mexican food" was all it took for Vlingo to pull up a list of Mexican restaraunts near me (grabbing my current location with the GPS) complete with a button to call them and a button to get directions.

I'm still not sure what Siri does that's particularly special, though I do hear a lot about the things that Siri won't do that other similar apps can do.

Re:Old news (4, Interesting)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861391)

That's great thing that I like about Vlingo as well. The only reason I have my default action still on the Google Search voice thing is that it can do a select few things that Vlingo can't, which I use more often. Vlingo is far more full featured than this Evi thing.

I agree about a lot of "been done before" stuff. Heck, my old Windows Mobile 5.x phone going on 8 years ago was able to use voice to "Play X artist" or "What's my next appointment" (still can't do that on Android),... and WinMo didn't even require a server connection to understand my request.

Re:Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861265)

hmm, nope. been using mine since the day it came out, only times it doesn't work is when I'm driving through the sticks, and that only when I'm north west of town

Re:Old news (2)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861317)

my sister had a 4s on release day eventhough i stick with droid myself and she was complaining about timeouts and other glitches for quite a few days when it came out

sure we all wanna be able to have it update calendars and other things. After playing with a few different programs lately im pretty impressed with iris, in alpha it seems to do 90% of what siri can do right now

Hours, not days (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861481)

Remember when siri came out it was the SAME problem???

No, because it was up more than it was down. Siri since them has been keeping up. Apple fixed whatever load problem they were having more in terms of hours than days or weeks.

So basically it is another crappy rip off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861341)

Siri is like the Beatles, and Evi is like a Monkees cover band.

Re:Old news (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861437)

What makes that different from the built-in Android voice search? I can already search Google, text/call/email people, play music, get directions, set alarms, etc... through voice commands. The only thing that makes Siri interesting (aside from talking back to you, which is more of a gimmick) is that it can do more context sensitive searches, as with your "Where can I get a sandwich?" example. If Evi doesn't do those, then it doesn't sound like it's doing anything that a default Android install doesn't do.

Re:Old news (1)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861461)

Agree. Most of it is the cool factor. I honestly can't off the top of my head think of anything Siri does that I can't with default voice search beyond querying/adding calendar events. Asking questions gives me results with Google, and if really wanted to have those read back to me I could use Vlingo. I can't ask "where can I get a sandwich", but I can tell Google Voice Search "nearby restaurants" and it gives me a map with pushpins marking them. That's honestly better than Siri to me.

Re:Old news (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861613)

"aside from talking back to you, which is more of a gimmick"

How do you figure? That seems like it would be particularly useful if one were using their phone via a Bluetooth audio connection (e.g. handsfree in a car). I have no idea how well Siri works in that sort of situation, but audio feedback would be on the requirements list.

Siri on other iDevices (4, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861065)

This is the real reason Siri's available only for 4S users. Apple added 37 million new iPhone customers last quarter, with the vast majority of those buying 4S's. It's actually pretty amazing they've been able to keep up with the computational and server requirements of all those Siri users with hardly any major hiccups. I've heard of maybe 2 significant Siri outages, and those lasted for very short periods of time. People wanting Apple to extend Siri to all 200 million+ iOS users are being unrealistic. There's no way to handle that kind of load all at once.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861089)

Sure there is - buy more servers and bandwidth.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861117)

But that would cost them money. Instead, they could just use Siri as an incentive to upgrade to the 4S.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861427)

Yeah, but see that only works so many times. Even Apple users aren't dumb. When they hear that hackers got it working find on the iPhone 4, then they know it was disabled on purpose. Even people who like to have the shiniest new stuff don't like to be forced to buy it through tricks. If you bought a car, and found out that it had a disabled turbocharger in it that you couldn't enable, would you buy another one from the same company? In MBA speak, we may call it "Value Added Marketing" (or "Price discrimination"), but purposely neutering a product so you can sell another one is called something else in the real world: being an ass-hat.

I bought an iPhone 4, but I won't be buying the 4S, and probably not any future model either. I've already switched most of my day-to-day use to android, because IP-Phones and a lot of other features just tend to work a lot better. I could give a crap about Siri, but I don't like to see a top-of-the-line product that's less than a year old purposely phased out because... yeah because of nothing, really.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861487)

The "purposely neutering a product" is something that pretty much every CPU and Video card manufacturer does. And besides, choosing not to support something on an old phone isn't neutering it, it's just them not providing a particular feature, just like how they never brought multitasking to the original iPhone even though it was possible through jailbreaking.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861639)

The "purposely neutering a product" is something that pretty much every CPU and Video card manufacturer does.

Having read about the last couple of generations of nVidia cards - not so much any more. They all use different processors, not neutered variants of the same one like they used to.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861915)

Ehhh... what?/

Explain 550/560 Ti vs. 550/560 *not* Ti, then...

Re:Siri on other iDevices (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861127)

How many servers? How much bandwidth?

Not even WOW was originally released every where at the same time to adjust to load.

The fact is until you get hard numbers you can't take it for granted exactly how much you need.

Apple added 37 million 4S users in the last quarter. did you know in October how many iphones they would sell?

Re:Siri on other iDevices (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861161)

Not even SWTOR launched all at once. They let in pre-orders early and staggered those in to avoid a server data flood.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861219)

They are physical devices, so they know they can't sell more than they have made.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861919)

How many servers? How much bandwidth?

The iCloud is built on top of Azure's CDN and Amazon's S3 storage service.

The fact is until you get hard numbers you can't take it for granted exactly how much you need.

That's the entire point of using two cloud services with more capacity than your own, along with an elastic pricing model.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

silverhalide (584408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861129)

You have a long career ahead of you as a tech sector executive.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (4, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861327)

You have a long career ahead of you as a tech sector executive.

(shrug) Whatever - it really is the answer. One Siri-enabled device takes X CPU power, X bandwidth, etc. There is some internal database scaling, but I doubt the Siri database is huge. Most likely, they have a bajillion x86-class boxes each with a full copy of the database. Every X many Siri devices requires Y many servers.

Somewhere, there's a monitor that reports overall usage. As they get towards the redline, they add more. This kind of scaling is very easy. If they had to present a single consistent copy of data (e.g., credit card processing or something), it would be a lot more difficult.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861847)

No.. it really isn't the answer. Because "the answer" will include reasonably accurate usage estimates and specific amounts of server hardware for some time period into the future. Not some pseudo algebra and "MOAR STUFFZ GUD!"

The first problem with getting usage estimates in this case ... none of the people you're trying to estimate the usage of .. are users yet. And scrutinizing the data of the first adopters isn't terribly useful because first adopters are likely to be the heaviest users, as a segment.

Even when scaling is "easy" you still need to know how much you need to scale. Which is still hard.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861961)

The real question is.. why do they need *any* servers to enable siri? iPhone 4S ought to be more than capable of handling a huge vocabulary on it's own power. I mean, I had a flip-phone in 2003 that could do voice-dialing from the phonebook without training, surely a smartphone should be capable of far, far, more without calling home for help...

Re:Siri on other iDevices (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861149)

Maybe they'll do that over time but it seems pretty smart to start "small" ramping Siri-users into the millions as iPhone4S's were sold instead of immediately serving hundreds of millions of users by issuing Siri in an OS update. And there's no way the Evi people could have done the same kind of ramp up without resorting to invites or a similar system.

Re:Siri on other iDevices (2)

MikeMo (521697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861513)

Did you know they spent more than $1 BILLION on that server farm in North Carolina? And they're getting ready to double it's capacity? And it took them almost two years to bring it on line. You can't just roll into Best Buy, buy some stuff, turn it on and be all set.

Good product (3, Interesting)

hugh nicks (754727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861073)

I had told my friend about this after reading an article about it. He managed to grab it on his EVO 3D after I told him that Evi's server's seem to be melting, but he said it worked really really well. He recently sent me an email saying that the server's are not melted, but burnt to a crisp. He is no longer getting data from Evi. He knows it's in beta still, but I don't think anyone expected this kind of response. Once they shore up their servers, this app promises to very extremely interesting.

Re:Good product (2)

hugh nicks (754727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861085)

I meant extremely interesting, not very extremely interesting. :D

still waiting for the right voice (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861101)

I'm thinking "Gay Deceiver" would be quite sultry and appealing.

Should have been called "Envi" (1)

readandburn (825014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861141)

Hilarity!

Re:Should have been called "Envi" (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861177)

Exelis Visual Information Solutions would have sued their pants off.

Re:Should have been called "Envi" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861571)

Well I thought this was Google's answer to Siri at first, and Evi sounded appropriate... just short of EviL.

Competitor to Siri? That is funny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861171)

As many are finding out .... Evi is nothing but a bad copycat FAKING functionality.

Has anybody actually manage to get a real answer from the Evi?

Re:Competitor to Siri? That is funny ... (1, Funny)

kaffiene (38781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861431)

what is a fanboi?

In IRC... (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861197)

we have Macbot.

Macbot is like Siri, but retarded, drunk, and insane.

--
BMO

Odd pricing strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861261)

Why would you give it away on the platform with no competition but charge on the platform with a free alternative? That seems precisely backwards.

Re:Odd pricing strategy (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861315)

Why would you give it away on the platform with no competition but charge on the platform with a free alternative? That seems precisely backwards.

Because you can?

Don't google already get a licensing fee when a manufacturer puts Android on a phone?

Re:Odd pricing strategy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861359)

Nothing odd about it. Apple customers are used to paying a lot for the exact same thing that the rest of the world gets cheaply or for free. They like being raped because they think it makes them "hip", plus they'll viciously defend their rapist against all criticism. Only an idiot marketer would leave that kind of easy money on the table.

And who gets the records? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861263)

And since Siri and friends all need to go to "the cloud" to get the horsepower for translating whatever you ask... what are the privacy and recording implications of that?
I'd imagine that they would need to keep some form of records for tuning, so how much do they keep, for how long, and under what assurances of privacy?

Just tried it (5, Interesting)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861267)

Just grabbed it from Android market. Tried 3 searches:
1. "Petrol near me" - success - found a petrol station near by, correctly.
2. "Weather today" - failure - said weather coming soon, in the meantime, try accuWeather.
3. "Who is the Prime Minister of Australia" - success - Julia Gillard.


The speech to text was flawless, even on the 3rd one.

Still a gimmick I can't see any real use for. I can Google Voice search on my phone already and I never use it. Maybe there's something else you can do with these things I haven't thought of but for me it seems like Siri it pointless and Evi more so.

Re:Just tried it (1)

azbot (544794) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861675)

I agree, the voice recognition is far superior to the default android system. It's quite possible that Evi has decent i18n, where as the android sytem currently only caters for american-like accents.

Re:Just tried it (2)

CyranoDeBergerac (127210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861841)

3. "Who is the Prime Minister of Australia" - failure - Julia Gillard.

FTFY

Re:Just tried it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861989)

3. "Who is the failure of Australia" - Prime Minister - Julia Gillard.
FTFY properly

Vlingo (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861283)

I'd like to point out that Vlingo has been out much longer than Siri and is a pretty good alternative on the Android platform (its not as good on the Apple platform). Vlingo is free. I am not sure why people never mention it in these discussions.

Re:Vlingo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861507)

I am not sure why people never mention it in these discussions.

Perhaps because it has the dumbest name.

tfa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861299)

Uh, did anyone else read TFA's title as "Evil Overlord"?

Overloaded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861321)

...or overlooked?

In this case, Size Does Matter (4, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861373)

So the service is collapsing under the weight of the attention? At the end of the day, a serious Siri competitor can only come from a huge, very well-financed company because Apple sunk a ridiculous amount of money into a data center to support Siri. And they still have tens of billions of dollars in cash lying around. True Knowledge, the company that introduced Evi, has had about $5.2 million in announced financing over the last four years. This is like calling that guy selling strawberries on the street corner "Safeway's competition." He may have good strawberries, but he's not going to make a dent in Safeway's business. He simply couldn't handle that kind of volume. I know we've seen plenty of David and Goliath technology matchups that have been upended, but this technology is only made possible and sustainable by a huge investment. By the time that ceases to be true (when you can run Siri on your phone without reliance on the cloud) Apple will be even further ahead of the field.

Re:In this case, Size Does Matter (4, Interesting)

SoonerSkeene (1257702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861443)

My old Windows Mobile 5.x phone going on 8 or 9 years ago was able to use voice to "Play X artist" or "What's my next appointment" (still can't do that on Android),... and WinMo didn't even require a server connection to translate my voice into text. It could even respond to you. Say "Play music", it would ask "what do you want to play? By album, artist, genre, or shuffle?" You could even continue the conversation, just like Siri, by saying "what artists are available?" or something similar.

The only time a connection of any kind was required was if my request spawned a web search or geolocation process, which would be a normal webpage or map loading. I don't see why Apple needs "a huge data center" to handle these requests.

Re:In this case, Size Does Matter (2)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861817)

My 1996 Performa 6360 (160 Mhz processor, 16Mb RAM) had "voice recognition" capabilities, but it was a limited set of commands the system had to listen for, and if you didn't enunciate the way the system expected, it wouldn't understand. The two big selling points for Siri are:
  1. Natural Speech Processing. You can speak naturally, and you can say just about anything, and Siri gets it. That is accomplished because there is a giant server farm processing the recorded sound file and interpreting it. Presumably, it learns and gets better because collectively it's hearing millions of different voices, speech patterns and requests every day. You couldn't do that on your phone. Your old Windows mobile required you to stick to a script, expected you to speak pre-defined commands and chose the command it thought you said. Steve Jobs was big on technology being intuitive. He believed that if people have to receive training to operate your device, you designed it wrong. This was the holy grail for him, because you talk to the machine the way you would talk to a person and it just works. And that's what the majority of non-technical people want.
  2. Intelligent Responses. Siri makes semi-intelligent guesses as to what you want, whether you're saying "Text mom this..." or "Where's a good place to hide a body?" In the former case, it takes dictation. In the latter, it suggests secluded places. It's far more complex than your old phone.

Re:In this case, Size Does Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861479)

Perhaps you are somewhat right here, but on the other hand, with things like Google App Engine and Amazon's cloud for rent (and force.com, etc.), anyone can have their own cloud which can scale to basically any size. Apple bought Siri, because they probably thought it had decent technology, but if another company creates better technology (i.e. faster or more flexible algorithms), they can buy the scalability. What they can't match Apple on, though, is they can't provide a service that costs them money for free to users, while subsidizing that cost with hardware sales.

Um...hello Watson, could you come here... (2, Insightful)

joshamania (32599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861421)

I really don't understand why folks are making a big stink about Siri and this other whoozitwhatsits. I imagine IBM hasn't made a smartphone app for Watson because it would need a huge computer/serverfarm/planet to run it for millions of users yet.

Watson is the real deal. Siri, to me, seems like a search engine and nothing more. It's not answering questions...it's just giving normal people the ability to use Google like I use google...i.e. knowing the modifiers and using them.

Re:Um...hello Watson, could you come here... (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861557)

That's weird. Because when I ask Siri to set an alarm for 5:30 am, it sets an alarm for 5:30 am. But when I ask Google the same thing, I get back a bunch of links about Siri.

How can I use google to set an alarm?

Re:Um...hello Watson, could you come here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861625)

Using your fingers on your google supplied operating system.

Observations (3, Informative)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861469)

Speech Recognition is good. Many questions bumped back with server busy message - difference being it promises to respond when it is able to.
- Call X: Server busy - Thought this is something it can fetch from phone more than from its server.
- Email X: I do not know how to that yet. Ask me for any information.
- Calendar: Online calendars are Google Calendar, Yahoo! Calendar, O2 Calendar. (Those are hyperlinked words which would take you to another Evi Screen with Visit buttons.)
- Distance to Moon: May be you want something about the moon? Try this webpage Moon - Wikipedia. (Hyperlinked to Moon wiki page).
- Stock price of Apple: Try Quote.com for stock
- Height of Everest: Mount Everest's' elevation is 8850 meters, 29000 feet.

- The long sorry message read out is not you would want to hear more than a couple of times in the that unattractive robotic tone.
- It apparently depends on or uses a Text To Service other than the default one. And so the I selected (Pico TTS) is stopping if I am silent for more than 10s with out any audible warning. Which forces me to look whats happening and click on the listen button again.
- One issue that arises with a non-inbuilt TTS is Evi is not in control of the entire end to end experience and can be messed up pretty easily due to the TTSs' clicks, timeouts, quality, capabilities.

Pricing seems wrong... (1)

williamyf (227051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861471)

So they charge 99 cents for iPhone users who, at least with the 4S have a superior (and free) alternative, but give it away for free on the android market?

I think it should be the other way around... then again, I guess all those iPhone4 people want to talk to their phones, so that their cool friends think they have got a 4S ith Siri.....

Can someone please be ORIGINAL (0)

katorga (623930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861531)

Siri -> Evi. Please. Lets be a little more original than that. I'm so tired of the non-Apple market simply making cheap knock-offs. I wish someone would step out in front for once.

Re:Can someone please be ORIGINAL (1)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861583)

Now might not be a right time to stand out in front even if a product is good as Apple got its spot reserved in the peoples' minds (both sides alike). It looks like even if a startup or AMZN comes up with a cool product in related areas before Apple, people would wonder how fantastic Apples' counter would be. In fact, it feels reasonable when someone says "I am not buying a TV this time, want to see the (rumored) Apples iTV".

Gotta start somewhere (2)

erick99 (743982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861623)

The Android community will eventually get a Siri equivalent though I doubt Evi is it. But, the more iterations the better and we will eventually get there. I'm glad that there is active development.

Google's respone (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861637)

Don't be Evi?

Re:Google's respone (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861717)

Then who am I supposed to be?

really.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861709)

once you get past the novelty, do you really find any of this voice recognition crap useful? I hate how clumsy and imprecise this sort of thing is, not to mention the insult of having to talk to an inanimate object. I'll keep with using my fingers for now...

Re:really.. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861967)

Its VERY useful in the right situations, jsut like any tool. In the car, voice control is the killer app.

You have to pay for it on the iphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38861731)

Because if you have Android, you could steal it... so its free.

Change of Motto (2)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38861735)

Apple's new slogan: "Don't Be Evi"
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