Getting Sirious

Great piece from Stephen Hackett:

There are some fundamental differences between Apple and Google when it comes to privacy, and I believe those differences will allow Google to continue to lead in the area of digital assistants infused with artificial intelligence. However, consumer privacy has nothing to do with some of the simple tasks Siri still fails at doing.

Siri falls back to a Bing search results page way too often. I expect my virtual assistant to be able to parse information from the Internet and read it back to me as I drive or am in the kitchen with my hands dirty. Reading a bunch of search results completely defeats the purpose of using Siri to begin with.

I’ve noticed examples of this on my Apple Watch, too. I might get a text message while cooking, read it, and then say “Hey Siri, reply to that text from Geoff”. Siri will show me an onscreen button with a microphone, which I must tap with my probably-messy hand to begin dictating my reply.

This example, and inconsistencies between similar queries, and returning a list of Bing results — these are all examples of Siri’s functional pitfalls. Improving all of these aspects doesn’t require a compromise on privacy. This is just about the software doing the right thing.