: This iPhone app was the original Siri application which has since been acquired by Apple and included into the iPhone 4S as a default feature. This review is left here for reference.
When you’re out and about and don’t feel like searching on your iPhone, Siri can help you find the info you need using natural voice commands. Siri is an impressive personal search assistant application for the iPhone that understands basic english voice commands such as “Get me a Taxi”, “Will it rain tomorrow?” and “Reserve a romantic restaurant for Sunday in New York”. The free Siri app is meant to be used as sort of a custom tailored hotline or concierge that you can use to help you search for things easily.
On the Siri start screen you can find restaurants, movies, events, local business listings, taxis, weather, and see examples of what you can set like email reminders.
Combining existing search technologies and content providers Siri makes finding what you need as painless as possible. The interface and messages are very informal and friendly, such as “Ok let me check on that for you” or “That’s a new one”. The app can store your home and work address which will then let you attach “near my work/home” to the end of anything and have it automatically locate things around that address. Siri can even store and activate credit cards on your account, which will help you make purchases from the iPhone app with little effort.
Siri does a great job of maintaining context during the course of your searches. For example if you ask Siri to say for example “Reserve a romantic italian restaurant in San Francisco tomorrow night” it will scroll to an integrated OpenTable section where you can reserve it with one tap. Then you can say for example “What movies are playing tomorrow?” and Siri will know to look for them in the same city about an hour after your dinner reservation time.
Siri has a built in reminders utility that can send you email reminders for events you specify. For example you can say “Remind me to send roses on her birthday” and Siri will ask you for a date and time, and create a reminder with the text “Send roses on her birthday” in the app.
Want directions? Just say it followed by any name and Siri will automatically pull up the address, find your current location, and show you the list of steps you need to drive to the destination, in one shot. Brilliant, now only if it was able to speak back the text, we’d be super excited.
You can also use Siri to find answers to simple questions you might have like, what time is it, what’s the capital of China, will it rain today, where is Starbucks, nearest ATM, what is happening, is Southwest 94 on time today, did Delta 11 land yet, and a bunch more intuitive person-to-person type questions.
Siri partners include OpenTable, MovieTickets.com, Taxi Magic, Rotten Tomatoes, CitySearch, Gayot, dotmenu, StubHub, Alliance Reservations Network, Nuance, Vlingo, WeatherBug, Yelp, FlightStats, Yahoo Local, BooRah, NY Times Movie Reviews, Livekick, Localeze, Google Maps, True Knowledge, and Bing Search. Some of the features that Siri could add for it to become even more powerful as a search utility are sports scores, stock quotes, TV showtimes, and food recipes.
For fun we tried some funny questions in Siri and here are the results:
What’s the meaning of life? 42
Why is the Sky Blue? Rayleigh scattering, the scattering of light by particles smaller than the wavelength of the light.
If you own an iPhone or iPod touch be sure to give Siri a trial run and see what you think for yourself.
Here is a video demo of the Siri app on the iPhone
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