Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Siri Is Better, but Not Yet Brilliant

Speaking of Siri, Joanna Stern’s column this week for the Wall Street Journal looks at some of the improvements and changes Apple has made to it in iOS 10:

Most of Siri’s third-party integration has been so reliable and accurate that it’s spurred me to start talking to it more and more. In some cases, I’ve been impressed with how much Siri has learned about how we speak. She understands and responds to casual phrases like, “Shoot an email to Geoff” or “What’s up with the weather today?”

Sometimes, though, I have to carefully phrase the question. “When’s the next train coming?” pulls up the definition of “train” on Wikipedia. “Show me transit directions,” however, shows me the latest train schedule. And when it comes to general knowledge, Siri comes in third place behind Google’s and Amazon’s assistants.

Unfortunately, very few of the apps I use regularly either haven’t yet been updated to support SiriKit, or don’t fit into one of the specific domains that SiriKit supports right now.

I’m looking forward to trying Siri with more data sources, though. I think that these kinds of improvements will reduce the psychological impediment that I — and, perhaps, you — face when talking to technology. If it doesn’t feel entirely right, it feels wrong.

Apple says Siri is updated every other week with new information.

That’s not frequent enough. Not even close. Breaking news stories, in particular, should be indexed by Siri as soon as they’re published.