Samsung lambasts Siri dictation in weirdest Galaxy S4 ad yet

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 5, 2013

I appreciate memorable, creative advertising as much as the next guy, but I just don’t get a new Galaxy S4 commercial Samsung is airing in Iceland.

Instead of focusing on the handset’s features or the usual iPhone bashing, this time around Samsung’s creative agency has gone over the top in depicting a guy trying to make a phone call on a real apple.

Realizing swiping across fruit makes no sense, the ad then switches to a happy scene where our hero operates a Galaxy S4. The not-so-subtle jab at Apple is plain weird, to put it mildly. I know ads are supposed to take into account the often vast cultural differences across markets, but I’m not sure Samsung did itself a favor with this particular commercial… Read More

 

Opel brings Siri Eyes Free to entry-level Adam

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2013

Apple’s Siri Eyes Free voice-guided in-car control isn’t just for the rich, as the European car maker Opel (owned by General Motors) has decided to offer the feature as a paid upgrade on its entry-level Adam. Costing €300, or approximately $400, buyers can outfit their Adam with Siri Eyes Free so they can send messages, make appointments and much more through Siri’s integration with the new IntelliLink system. I’ve included more information and a nice promo clip after the break… Read More

 

Siri gets new male and female voices in iOS 7 beta 2

By Cody Lee on Jun 24, 2013

Earlier today, Apple released the second beta of its next-generation mobile operating system, iOS 7, to developers. The update comes exactly two weeks after the original beta of iOS 7 was released, and brings with it a number of new features and improvements.

One of the more prominent changes we’ve seen has to do with Siri, Apple’s snarky digital assistant. Not only has it gotten smarter, but in beta 2 the virtual secretary received new voice templates. You can now choose from a male or female voice in several languages… Read More

 

Siri in iOS 7 getting better at pronouncing names

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 24, 2013

Not only is Siri getting a facelift and new features in iOS 7 as Apple continues to focus on improving her usability and the accuracy and reliability of the responses, she’s also getting smarter thanks to backend changes which don’t require a software update. For example, one of such server-side improvements is the ability to place phone calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to help save lives.

But there’s one aspect of Siri that has seen little changes since her inception: inaccurate pronunciation of certain names. But no more. Although not specifically addressed during the WWDC 2013 keynote, it’s been discovered that Siri can now initiate a learning process of sorts whenever it has trouble understanding your pronunciation of a person’s name… Read More

 

Feeling suicidal? Don’t do it, Siri can call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for you

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 18, 2013

Sometimes, one just feels like life isn’t worth living anymore. Maybe you’ve been trying too hard for too long or life hasn’t been treating you fairly?

Perhaps love of your life has suddenly dumped you? Or, it could be the economy. Whatever the reason, far too many people are having suicidal thoughts these days.

And who could blame them – we’re living in a time when the entire world is increasingly becoming a Prozac nation. When desperation sets in, suicide prevention centers step in to save lives. But those considering committing suicide are often way too depressed to even seek professional help on their own.

Apple feels their pain, too. In a recent server-side update, the company’s digital assistant has gained ability to help individuals in suicidal crisis reach out to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by automatically placing that potentially life-saving phone call for you… Read More

 

Apple makes Bing Siri’s default search engine

By Cody Lee on Jun 10, 2013

“The enemy of my enemy, is my friend.” That proverb seems fitting for the new Bing partnership Apple announced today, which sees Microsoft’s lackluster search engine tapped as the default search engine for the snarky digital assistant Siri.

The entire audience went silent during the keynote this morning, as Apple’s SVP of Internet software and services Eddy Cue announced that new in iOS 7, Siri will be able to respond to queries with integrated Bing web search results… Read More

 

Siri gets a makeover, new features and improvements in iOS 7

By Cody Lee on Jun 10, 2013

Apple’s system-wide overhaul in iOS 7 brings a new look to everyone’s favorite snarky digital assistant. Siri gets a complete makeover in the update with a new UI, new animations, and more realistic-sounding voice samples—now available in both male and female voices.

In addition to the redesign, Siri also gets a handful of new features and other improvements. Phil Schiller says that it’s smarter, with faster responses, in-app Bing search results and links to Twitter, and deeper vehicle integration for automakers to take advantage of… Read More

 

Apple’s Siri Eyes Free mode coming to 2014 BMWs

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 7, 2013

The German maker of luxurious cars BMW back in March added four new apps to its BMW Apps platform: Amazon’s Audible, Glympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn app.

As one of Apple’s early launch partners, BMW previously featured Siri’s Eyes Free mode on select vehicles. The latest update to BMW’s iDrive platform expands Eyes Free support with new Siri features, including Bluetooth access to on-device music.

And finally, the car maker has announced that the new iDrive 4.2 firmware doesn’t just bring Siri on its 2014 model cars, it also enables S Voice, Samsung’s own voice thing found on newer Galaxy devices… Read More

 

Google updates iOS Search app, rolls out nutritional information in search results

By Christian Zibreg on May 31, 2013

I really, really wish Apple doubled down on Siri. When the intelligent personal assistant debuted as an iPhone 4S-exclusive back in October 2011, Siri was likened to a seismic shift that would vastly improve our interactions with the devices in our lives. And it did.

But merely nineteen months later, Google has leapfrogged Siri with Google Now, which combines the power of Google search with the company’s Knowledge Graph and top-notch voice recognition to deliver relevant info before you even asked for it.

But Google isn’t standing still. Today the firm has updated its native iOS Search app with “location improvements and bug fixes.” And just yesterday, it announced that nutritional information will start cropping up in search results across platforms, including iOS and Android applications that incorporate Google Now… Read More

 

CEO confirms Siri uses Nuance voice recognition tech

By Cody Lee on May 30, 2013

In the months leading up to 2011’s WWDC event, there were numerous reports that Apple would announce a major partnership with voice recognition giant Nuance. Obviously, the gossip never materialized, and Apple didn’t even end up unveiling Siri until that fall.

But despite the fact that no one has ever come out and said it, Nuance has long been given credit for powering Siri’s speech recognition capabilities. And today, the company’s CEO Paul Ricci confirmed the theory while speaking at AllThingsD’s D11 conference… Read More

 

Microsoft uses Siri to highlight iPad flaws in new Windows 8 ad

By Cody Lee on May 22, 2013

It’s not unusual to see Microsoft and Apple products pitted against each other in a TV ad. Back in the early 2000s, Apple had success with its ‘I’m a Mac’ spots. And just recently, MS took on both Apple and Samsung in its ‘Don’t Fight’ commercial.

But this new Windows 8 tablet ad takes the rivalry thing to a whole new level. Using the voice of Siri, Microsoft highlights a number of things that the iPad can’t do, that a tablet running its latest OS can. As always, we have the video for you after the fold… Read More

 

Apple claims Google Now violates its Siri patents, adds Galaxy S4 to suit

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2013

A week ago, news broke that Apple mulled adding Samsung’s latest Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone to its patent infringement case against Samsung Electronics. It’s not terribly surprising then that Apple has now filed a motion asserting that both the Internet giant’s head-turning Google Now feature and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 handset violate its two Siri patents and five other inventions… Read More

 

Siri vs. Google Now video faceoff

By Cody Lee on May 19, 2013

Siri was all the rage when Apple unveiled it alongside its iPhone 4S in the fall of 2011. The digital assistant was highlighted in a number of commercials for the handset during its 11-month life cycle. But since then, we’ve seen a number of competitors arise.

One of those competitors is Google Now, which launched in the summer of last year. And a lot of folks believe that it’s superior to Siri—both in speed and accuracy. But is that really the case? Find out in this new head-to-head comparison video of the two… Read More

 

Googiri is Google voice search meshed with Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on May 15, 2013

I don’t think I’ve left it up to sleuthing to understand that I pretty much loathe Siri. It’s a great idea no doubt, but the execution is so poor that it makes me hate the service. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but Siri rarely, if ever, does what I want it to. I ask her for directions to Starbucks, and she replies with “I can’t find a place called scarred duck.” It’s really pathetic.

So imagine how ecstatic I was when I first tried out the voice search embedded into Google Now. It was amazingly accurate, fast, and it didn’t sound like an old worn out robot from the 70’s. Sad to say, but this is the how Siri should be. Google owns the new gold standard for voice recognition… Read More

 

Siri updated to respond to longer queries with quotes on brevity

By Cody Lee on May 14, 2013

This is kind of interesting. A thread has popped up in the Reddit forums this week regarding some recent changes to Siri. It appears that Apple has quietly updated the digital assistant with a new, quirky attitude toward lengthy queries.

Now, when Siri is asked a question (or given a command) that is excessively long, she will quote famous passages from notable historical figures like William Strunk and Thomas Jefferson on the subject of—you guessed it—brevity… Read More

 

How Samsung’s S Voice responds to questions about iPhone, Siri and Apple

By Christian Zibreg on May 8, 2013

Apple’s Siri isn’t just known for her witty responses, but also for a few Easter eggs Apple intentionally included in the app. One of the more famous is Siri’s response to the marriage question. When asked “will you marry me?”, Siri responds that “my End User License Agreement does not cover marriage.”

Nokia even accused Apple of recalibrating Siri to name iPhone the best phone rather than its own Lumia 900 handset. And, a law student took an issue with sponsored Siri responses to questions like “what’s the best smartphone/tablet ever?”

Looks like Samsung’s own voice-activated digital assistant, dubbed S Voice, could find itself under similar criticism as bloggers discover some interesting Easter eggs in the software. One of the funnier S Voice responses unsurprisingly covers topics such as Apple’s iPhone and Siri… Read More

 

iOS 7 said to feature optimized in-car Maps and Siri integration

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 30, 2013

Hot on the heels of a pair of yesterday’s reports which asserted that Apple’s upcoming iOS 7 will have a “very flat” user interface akin to Windows Phone’s ‘Metro’ visual style – along with Mac OS X 10.9 borrowing core multitasking features from iOS 7 – 9to5Mac writer Mark Gurman is back at it again with another exclusive. Today’s story details an alleged integration of Apple’s Siri digital personal assistant and in-house built Maps service in iOS 7 with your car’s dashboard… Read More

 

Apple confirms Siri remembers your data for two years

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 19, 2013

Apple has finally disclosed how long Siri keeps your personalized data collected and stored on its servers whenever you pick up your iPhone and ask her a question. In a new report published Friday, an Apple representative was quoted confirming the company keeps Siri data stored in the  cloud for two years.

Watchers often express concern over digital voice assistants such as Siri because they store users’ voice clips, opening door to a potential privacy nightmare should this private data ever be compromised. Apple on its part argues it stores anonymized data, and for two years only. Other companies that collect data from users, such as the Internet giant Google and industries like telecommunications, have similar data retention policies in place… Read More

 

Amazon buys Evi digital assistant, thwarts Apple partnership with Goodreads deal

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 19, 2013

Online retailer Amazon in an interesting personal assistant move has reportedly acquired Evi (pronounced ee-vee), a Cambridge, England headquartered startup that specialises in knowledge base and semantic search engine software. The company makes an iOS and Android app which uses the True Knowledge Answer engine and Nuance speech recognition platform to deliver answers to complex queries using natural language processing.

Apple’s Siri also uses Nuance for voice recognition and the iPhone maker even threatened to kick Evi out of the App Store for being too similar to Siri, but later changed its mind. Amazon previously in January 2013 bought Ivona Software, a Polish-based specialist in voice technologies that competes with Nuance.

Combining Ivona and Evi could yield some interesting results, giving Apple’s Siri a run for its money, even more so knowing Amazon makes tablets and is rumored to be building a smartphoneRead More

 

Assign Activator gestures to Siri questions with Ask Assistant

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 18, 2013

Sometimes you just don’t feel like talking, even if it’s to Siri. Ask Assistant is perfect for those times, because it allows you to invoke Siri without saying a word.

The tweak lets you enter up to five canned Siri queries into its preference panel, and you can then assign each query to a specific Activator gesture. For instance, I setup a query that simply stated “Send a Tweet.” I then assigned this question to an Activator gesture — a double tap of the status bar. Now, anytime I want to send a new tweet, all it takes is a double tap of my status bar, and the new tweet sheet will appear.

It doesn’t have to be that simple, though. Ask Assistant can perform any query that you can normally perform using your voice. Take a look inside for a few additional details. Read More

 
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