A startup named Siri has released what it calls its Siri Assistant app to the App Store. The app purports to help users with menial tasks, and do it all via voice recognition.
While available only on the ubiquitous iPhone right now, the company intends to release versions for Android and BlackBerry, as well.
The app will allow you to search for locations and perform various functions. For example, you can ask the app "Find me the closest Starbucks." Using Nuance's voice recognition technology, which is considered among the best, it will then return a list of Starbucks outlets near your current location to you.
Of course, thare are a number of apps that can help you in this way, sans voice recognition, at least, such as ManGo. Google's own Mobile App will perform voice searches, but if you ask it the above question, it will return a link to the Starbucks Restaurant Locator as its top result.
You can also ask the Siri Assistant to "find tickets to 'Avatar'" and it will find nearby showings and, if possible, allow you to buy them directly from the app. Here's what the company says about the app:
Just like a real assistant, Siri understands what you say, accomplishes tasks for you and adapts to your preferences over time.
Today, Siri can help you find and plan things to do. You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, tell you what’s playing at a local jazz club or get tickets to a movie for Saturday night.
Siri is young and, like a child taking its first steps, may be awkward at times. Siri may occasionally misunderstand things you ask it to do even within its range of understanding.
Nonetheless, Siri will improve quickly by getting to know you better and understanding a broader set of tasks. In fact, right now, Siri’s learning how to handle reminders, flights stats and reference questions. Our vision is that, over time, you’ll trust Siri to manage many personal details in your life - from recommending a wine you might enjoy to managing your to do list.
The current version of Siri is built for iPhone 3GS and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later. Soon, Siri will run on the iPod Touch, iPhone 3G and additional mobile platforms, as well.
On an iPhone 3GS, Siri Assistant runs well. It's unclear if they say it's not designed for the iPhone 3G because of its slower processor, and that the app won't run at all because of that (or just poorly).
Currently, the app is free, and Siri reportedly makes a profit from any monetary transactions, like purchasing movie tickets, that are conducted through Siri. One issue we have with this (as well as a number of apps that use voice recognition): no Bluetooth headset support. It would be a lot easier if I didn't have to raise the phone to my mouth to use the app.
It does, however, have functionality built-in that would allow it to sense when you raise it to your head. This is an option off by default, and would obviously interfere with the same option on the Google Mobile App.