Items tagged with Siri

Teenagers are usually quick to adapt to technology, so it shouldn't be too surprising that teens are the ones embracing hands-free search. According to the results of Google's Mobile Voice Study, 55 percent of teenagers between the age of 13-18 years old use voice search on a daily basis, versus 41 percent of adults. "Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that's becoming ever more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones," said Scott Huffman, Google's Vice President for Conversational Search. "We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones. We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media... Read more...
It feels like the epic battle of iPhone vs. Android vs. Windows Phone has been going on forever, and admittedly, it's a bit tired at this point. To help freshen things up, it would be wise to take a look at what the phones can actually do, and then see which one handles a certain common function better. The folks at Stone Temple Consulting decided to do just that, and had voice recognition and question interpretation in its sights. Thus, we're entering a new epic battle: Siri vs. Google Now vs. Cortana. Over the course of two months, multiple employees at Stone Temple sat at a desk, asking a bunch of questions to each service - 3,086 in all. For the Cortana duties, a Nokia Lumia 635 was used,... Read more...
It's not uncommon to pull up next to a car that's been driving erratically only to find that the driver is distracted with a smartphone. Hey, it's a sign of the times we live in, and while banning the use of handheld electronics while driving is one solution, hands-free operation is emerging as a compromise. Unfortunately, studies are finding that talking to your car may not be a safer alternative. In fact, there are at least two recent studies that suggest the problem of distracted driving is even worse when using voice-activated smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems, the Associated Press reports. While such systems allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road while making calls and... Read more...
Apple's Siri might not be for everyone, but there's no denying that sometimes, it could prove to be a boon for finding out important, time-sensitive information fast. I must imagine, though, that there are some things Siri's Cupertino creator never planned on it being asked - such as where to hide a body. That's just what one Florida man did, though, after he allegedly killed his roommate. By now, it's probably pretty hard to be surprised by a story like this, but what's most intriguing about it is that Siri actually had an answer! Smart answers like these don't mean that Siri's programmed for such questions, of course; Siri's in effect a brain that answers based on the context, regardless... Read more...
Apple's Siri virtual assistant has been a well-used iOS feature since its introduction in 2011, and it's seemed inevitable that at some point, the company would port it (ahem - her) on over to Mac OS X. Well, according to a patent filed on Thursday, the future does indeed hold that in store. When it's going to happen is anyone's guess, although it seems highly unlikely that we'll see it anytime before OS X 10.11's release (10.10 is due sometime this fall). Nonetheless, like Siri for iOS, this virtual assistant would always keep an ear open for commands, and then take appropriate action. At the forefront, it'd be able to interpret natural speech and result in executed commands, and also be used... Read more...
When you're as a big as Apple, lawsuits are impossible to avoid. After fighting Samsung for years on the design front, Apple's latest scuffle in the courtroom is happening in a country where a huge chunk of its profits are coming from: China. Recently, Apple has been attempting to have a Chinese company's voice-recognition patent ruled invalid, as its validity threatens Apple's ability to let Siri run free in China. Zhizhen Network Technology is attempting to block Apple from selling products in China with Siri installed, alleging that by doing so, it's infringing on a patent that it owns. With the verdict ruling the patent as valid, Apple's fight will continue with an appeal to the Beijing Higher... Read more...
Nuance Communications is a company you may or may not be familiar with, but you're almost certainly familiar with its products. Whether you know it or not, the company's voice recognition processing powers Apple's Siri, and according to a new report, that technology could be up for sale. So it goes when you don't actually own the things that power your technology, Apple could be looking at a situation where its most bitter rival (Samsung) purchases the company that's providing the brains behind Siri. Obviously, fireworks would probably ensue, and Apple would have to figure out where else to turn to make Siri tick. Or, of course, Samsung and Apple could find themselves in a bidding war. Mind you,... Read more...
As it turns, you can donate more than just blood to help others; you can donate your voice, and all it costs you is a stretch of time in a recording booth. And if Professor Rupal Patel and Dr. Tim Bunnell fulfill their vision, voice donations from all over the world may someday be generated with an iPhone app.   There are millions of people with speech impairments, and currently the vast majority of them must use generic synthesized voices to communicate. (Think Stephen Hawking.) Apple’s Siri is a voice built from human samples, although in her case the voice wasn’t “mixed” with anyone else’s. However, the aforementioned professionals have a company called VocaliD... Read more...
Apple has snagged a patent from the USPTO for what amounts to Siri, evolved. The “method and apparatus for building an intelligent automated assistant” appears to be a situation where your whole home or office is littered with sensors that track where you are and what you’re doing while always being at the ready for voice commands and gestural input. The patented system would include message-passing between sensors as well as features such as language, activity, and time recognition with task automation, culled in part from events “collected from a user's environment”. In other words, the system (let’s assume Apple will call it “Siri”) will try... Read more...
Apple has released an update to its latest mobile OS with iOS 7.1, and among the bug fixes and miscellaneous tweaks, there’s a big new feature with CarPlay. CarPlay allows you to connect your iPhone to your vehicle in a powerful way, most notably by bringing up a variety of apps and tools from your iPhone to the car’s built-in display. You can control CarPlay with Siri voice commands, use the vehicle’s touch display, and even use the car’s own knobs and other controls. That means that maps and driving directions, calls, messaging, and music can all be seamlessly run from your iPhone to your car. Some apps that will work with CarPlay right off the bat include Podcasts,... Read more...
It’s no secret that Microsoft has a competitor brewing for Apple’s Siri, and to a lesser extent Google Now, but Cortana is inching ever closer to becoming something you can actually use on your Windows Phone. According to “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans”, The Verge outed some sneak peek pics of what Cortana will look like as well as some of her (“its”?) functionality. First, the digital assistant will appear as a circular animated icon, not as a tech version of a manic pixie dream girl (which is probably for the best), and Cortana will address users by name. Much of the information pertinent to the user experience will be saved in a “notebook”... Read more...
Make no mistake, connected cars are an emerging reality, and Apple wants to be there as early as possible. The Cupertino company is launching an in-car OS next week in a bid to help push cars into a new age where they use an operating system and are connected to services such as navigation, communication, video, and more. According to CNBC, Apple’s car OS will first be integrated with--what else--Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo vehicles. It’s not at all surprising to see cars that run on the same (or a similar) platform to the phones people carry with them. Frankly, it’s a completely natural evolution. Credit: Steven Troughton/YouTube Most of us already use our phones in vehicles... Read more...
Some things are easier said than done, and some technologies are easier to draw up on paper than to actually implement across a wide array of partners. Apple's Siri technology put voice command on the mainstream map, but a few years back, it proudly stated that Siri would be coming to the vehicle, and soon. By and large, that hasn't happened, but the gears seem to be slowly turning now.  Honda and Acura jointly announced that select Honda and Acura models including the 2013 -2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Acura RDX and ILX now offer Apple's Siri Eyes Free mode as a dealer-installed accessory. Once installed, customers will be able direct Siri to perform tasks wihle keeping their eyes on the... Read more...
There’s a human behind every machine voice, from ATMs to airport announcements, but until now nobody knew who was the voice of the American Siri, the female robot assistant that became part of the lives of every iPhone owner since the debut of the 4S. It turns out, she’s Susan Bennett; she’s been doing voice work since the 1970s and had no idea the recordings she made would ever become the personification of the iPhone in her own pocket. Back in 2005, Bennett was called upon to do voice work for a company called ScanSoft (which later became Nuance Communications). She did recordings for four hours a day for the whole month of July, and she did them in her own home studio. (That’s... Read more...
With the introduction of iOS 7 later this week (at least into public hands), Siri is poised to exit "Beta." Finally, right? Of course, language learning takes time, and Siri has been ingesting queries for a long time now in order to improve her understanding of the human voice. Meanwhile, Google Now shipped for Jelly Bean devices, and arguably offered an even more intense and intimate robotic guide. Not only can Google Now respond to your questions and book appointments into your digital calendar, but it can also anticipate. And if we're being honest, Microsoft's own assistant needs to take anticipation to the next level if it wants to grab any eyes. It's no secret that Windows Phone is lagging... Read more...
After a leaked screenshot of a Nokia Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8.1 showed, among other things, an app called “zCortana”, many speculated that Microsoft was developing a personal digital assistant in the vein of Siri. Nothing has happened since then to change that perception, and in fact whispers, rumors, and photos indicate that it’s coming along quite nicely and may be more than just Siri wannabe. Tom Warren posted a screenshot showing Cortana’s involvement with weather alerts, calendar synchronization, and an ability to pin others to your Start screen. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET cited sources that say Cortana, though she will “interact” with users via voice... Read more...
We were expecting a Jonny Ive-led redesign of Apple’s iOS with the announcement of iOS 7 at WWDC today, but what Apple unveiled has a lot more going for it that just a heavy facelift. It’s true, though, that the whole look has been revamped; the fonts have been tweaked to be cleaner and simpler, there’s a bit of motion to make the interface seem “alive”, a lot of the items are translucent, and the reliance on skeuomorphs has been pulled back quite a bit. However, all that teasing about a black and white iOS 7 seems to have been substantially overblown. There are hundreds of new features in iOS 7, including Control Center. The idea is that there are a handful of controls... Read more...
It appears as though Windows Phone 8 is getting a little facelift, at least if some leaked screenshots are to be believed. A Reddit user named “chinaman28” purchased a Nokia 920 from an eBay seller and then shared a number of screenshots on his flickr account (which now appear to be removed). The device has some new features and a UI that aren’t on current Windows Phones, which indicates that it may be a developer’s phone. Chief among the new features is a notification center, which is a much-desired feature of the OS that users have been clamoring for. Image credit: WPCentral via Reddit Users with this build can also apparently sort apps according to how often they’re... Read more...
One of the worst kept secrets in Cupertino is that Apple's beloved Siri voice assistant contains DNA from Nuance Communications, the same company that birthed the Dragon line of speech recognition products. The fact is, Nuance has quite the collection of voice-related technologies and patents, and even though it was widely suspected to be powering Siri, there was never an official acknowledgement from Apple or Nuance. Until now. In an interview with AllThingsD, Nuance Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Ricci answered a bevy of questions about speech technologies, and in doing so, he confirmed that Nuance is powering Siri, adding that its technology is both client-based (locally) and cloud-based,... Read more...
Apple has made its bed, and now it’s lying it in. The bed in this case is the decision to compete in the marketplace through litigation, particularly as it pertains to patent violations. Since heading down that path, Apple has certainly won some major victories, but it has also spent a huge amount of resources in the courts instead of, for example, on R&D. According to FOSS Patents, Apple has amended one of its lawsuits to add the Samsung Galaxy S4; essentially, Apple views the S4 as more of the same in terms of Samsung devices that infringe on five of its patents, including those related to Siri. The key wording is as follows: "[...] Apple determined that the Galaxy S4 product practices... Read more...
You may want to think twice the next time you ask Siri a personal question, or even goof around with a question like, "Where can I hide a dead body?" What you may not realize is that every interaction is stored on Apple's servers for up to two years. That doesn't necessarily mean anything you ask will ever come back to haunt you in some way, but if you're a staunch privacy advocate, it might give you pause. Apple disclosed its data retention policy after Wired ran a story about some "fuzzy disclosures" in Siri's privacy policy that was brought to its attention by Nicole Ozer, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. Here's the entry that raised some eyebrows: "If you turn off Siri, Apple will... Read more...
A new voice search technology known as Veveo has some capabilities that could make Siri jealous. Veveo's website poses the question, "So what if we could talk to our devices like we normally do with other people?" With its conversational interface, Veveo brings predictive search to devices and combines it with contextual awareness and knowledge of user intent to deliver a user experience that surpasses the capabilities found on Apple's popular voice-controlled personal assistant, Siri. Veveo goes beyond the traditional spoken commands and speech control capabilities we have on devices today by taking user intent and behavior relevant to a conversation into consideration when displaying search... Read more...
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