How Apple’s advanced self-learning technologies could make Siri a lot smarter

By Christian Zibreg on May 30, 2016

The assistant wars are in full swing, with Google Assistant and Viv entering the fray and existing players such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Hound and Google’s Now all stepping up fight for consumers’ hearts and minds.

Apple’s rumored Amazon Echo competitor, which VentureBeat believes is a next-gen Apple TV, could blow all the assistants out of the water when it comes to deciphering complex natural language queries.

And powering it—VocalIQ, a sophisticate technology Apple acquired back in October 2015. Tech Insider provided an in-depth overview of how VocalIQ could make Siri a lot smarter than it is today.  Read More


How to enable Enhanced Dictation in OS X for streaming speech-to-text with live feedback

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2014

OS X includes a nifty Dictation feature which allows you to control your Mac and apps with your voice. You can use “speakable items”, basically a set of spoken commands, to open apps, choose menu items, email contacts and convert whole spoken sentences to text, wherever you can type text.

This is much like iOS’s Dictation feature as both iOS and OS X use the same Nuance-powered technology that turns speech to text. iOS devices have limited computing power so the Dictation feature on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad requires network connectivity in iOS 7 (iOS 8 supports streaming voice recognition and 22 new languages).

On the Mac, computing resources like CPU power, battery life and RAM are not of paramount importance as on mobile, Therefore, OS X Mavericks provides a new Enhanced Dictation feature which converts your words to text without utilizing Apple’s servers.

In other words, server-based Dictation lets you dictate without an active Internet connection. Because voice recognition processing runs locally on your Mac, text appears instantly as you speak. That is: continuos, streaming dictation with live feedback is made possible.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to turn on Enhanced Dictation in OS X and take advantage of speech-to-text, even when you’re off the grid… Read More


GoogolPlex will ‘unleash the power of Siri’ with Nest, Philips Hue, Spotify commands

By Jake Smith on Apr 17, 2014

Siri within iOS 7 can be limited sometimes, thanks to Apple’s “walled garden”, but a new tool called GoogolPlex wants to change that by opening the voice assistant to new commands.

Self described as the “App Store for Siri”, GoogolPlex opens Siri to work with Spotify, Philips Hue, the Nest Thermostat and more, just by an iOS user changing a few proxy settings… Read More


Facebook acquires speech recognition firm Mobile Technologies

By Cody Lee on Aug 12, 2013

Facebook has announced this afternoon that it has acquired Mobile Technologies, a private company that develops speech recognition and machine translation technology. The move reiterates the social network’s commitment to its mobile strategy.

Honestly, I hadn’t heard of the company before today. But some quick digging shows that Mobile Technologies is behind the popular Jibbigo translation app, which the developers claim is the “world’s first” online/offline speech-to-speech translator… 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


Future Motorola phones will recognize who is in a room based on their voices

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 13, 2012

Upcoming smartphones from Motorola Mobility, now a Google-owned entity, will be able to determine who is in a room by employing some pretty advanced voice recognition techniques. Under Google’s stewardship, the company has seen its management team reshuffled as forty percent of Motorola’s vice presidents left the company following the $12.5 billion acquisition.

And because Motorola has been losing money in 14 of its last 16 quarters, Google’s latest measures to achieve “sustainable profitability” for Motorola include cutting one-fifth of its global workforce. That amounts to about 4,000 people, a third from U.S. operations.

Furthermore, Google will be slimming down Motorola’s portfolio of devices to focus on a dozen or so flagship phones, it will close a third of Motorola’s 94 offices worldwide, dial down the handset maker’s operations in Asia and India and reduce its R&D expenditure in Chicago, Sunnyvale and Beijing… Read More


Google unveils Android 4.1, complete with Siri competitor and more

By Cody Lee on Jun 27, 2012

Apple kicked off this month with its WWDC keynote, unveiling the next version of its mobile operating system: iOS 6. Then Microsoft quickly followed with its Windows Phone 8 announcement. And now it’s Google’s turn.

Google’s I/O keynote is already underway this morning, and the search giant just unveiled its next version of its mobile platform Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The update features a Siri competitor, UI enhancements, and more… Read More


Nuance launches Dragon ID: phone unlock using your larynx

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 5, 2012

Nuance, the natural voice processing engine that powers voice recognition in Apple’s Siri digital assistant, recently announced the Drive! platform, basically the Siri for cars.

Today, the company announced another natural-language solution, one that lets you unlock your phone just by using your voice. Introducing Dragon ID, a brand new technology tapping your voiceprint to let the device know who you are by the sound of your voice.

Count us excited! We’re totally big on Nuance’s voice unlock possibly debuting on the next iPhone so we can all finally kiss cryptic passwords goodbye. Here’s a video of Nuance Dragon ID in action… Read More


Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice go head to head (video)

By Christian Zibreg on May 25, 2012

The Verge was first out of the gate today with its exhaustive review of Samsung’s Galaxy S III handset. A section of the piece provides an interesting side-by-side comparison of two intelligent personal assistants, Siri on the iPhone 4S and Samsung’s darling dubbed S-Voice.

Both features work as advertised (well, most of the time), amuse with canned responses, delight with factual answers – all the while letting you converse with your handset using natural language rather than remember a bunch of hard-coded commands.

Siri and S-Voice also score similarly in handling common tasks such as pulling local weather, creating appointments and reminders and what not. And of course S-Voice is a blatant rip off of Siri’s user interface. Apple’s digital secretary appears to be snappier at running queries and S-Voice at times has a hard time understanding what you want.

And here’s a nice side-by-side comparison video laying it all out for you… Read More


Will Apple kill Evi over Siri? [Updated]

By Jeff Benjamin on Feb 27, 2012

It looks as if things are becoming quite crowded and heated in the “virtual assistant” space.

A recent TechCrunch report says that Apple is planning to remove Evi from the App Store because it violates Apple’s terms and conditions.

The violation? Evi is too similar to SiriRead More


OpenSiri: Launch Apps Natively Using Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 21, 2012

Didn’t we tell you? The floodgates are opening for Siri tweaks now that the iPhone 4S jailbreak is available.

OpenSiri is among the Siri tweak freshman class, and it allows you to launch stock Apple apps, plus Facebook and Twitter apps using nothing but your voice.

Check out our hands-on video of OpenSiri in action… Read More


‘Hands-Free Control’ Takes Siri to the Next Level

By Jeff Benjamin on Jan 21, 2012

The potential is startling. Once you play with Hands-Free Control in a true Siri environment on the iPhone 4S, it really hits you how much potential jailbreaking adds to Siri. Truly, the sky’s the limit here as far as voice recognition and the like are concerned.

Imagine laying in bed with your iPhone half-way across the room. Problem: You forgot to set the alarm. Actually, no problem at all. With Hands-Free Control, Siri is always at your beckoning call… Read More


Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Shows Off Voice-Controlled iOS App

By Oliver Haslam on Jan 4, 2012

It looks like Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is a self proclaimed “Siri-holic” after the streaming outfit’s head man waxed lyrical about his love for Apple’s digital assistant.

But that’s not all. During an interview for Forbes, Ek gave a sneak peek at a potential new feature that could be on its way to the Spotify iPhone app at some point in the future. When asked about the possibility of voice activation coming to Spotify, Ek picked up his iPhone and requested a dose of Coldplay.

Naturally the handset obliged, though God only knows why Ek wanted to hear Coldplay at all. Regardless, the news that Spotify is working on voice recognition will come as a late Christmas present for fans of the streaming music service… Read More


Apple is Dreaming Up Wearable Computers That Talk to the iPhone and Use Siri

By Alex Heath on Dec 19, 2011

In a world where we all stare at our iPhone screens while walking around in public, Apple is working on the next-generation of mobile computing: wearable technology. The latest iPod nano can be worn as a watch, but that’s only the beginning of what Apple has in development.

The New York Times has revealed some of Apple’s internal plans for wearable computing. The company is working on a Siri-controlled experience that interfaces with the iPhone. Apple employees have reportedly already started testing such devices. Read More


‘Automatic Dictation’ Brings a Siri-Like Experience to Your iPhone

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 18, 2011

It’s not Siri. In fact, it’s not even close. Yet, you still may find it interesting enough to give it a shot, especially if you’re already a user of Voice Activator.

Automatic Dictation is essentially a meshing together of Voice Activator and Dragon Dictation. It basically allows you to (almost) use Dragon Dictation completely handsfree. It even allows you to send tweets directly from your dictation screen.

In the end, it’s a very clunky semi-hand-free solution that works, but it’s definitely no Siri… Read More


How to Use Siri to Help You Shop for Gadgets

By Cody Lee on Dec 16, 2011

We’ve seen Siri do everything from turn on a fireplace to control a TV set, so there’s not much that Apple’s digital assistant can do at this point that would surprise us. But all of these tricks require use of the Siri Proxy.

What about the average user that probably hasn’t installed the proxy? Well, there’s still Wolfram Alpha. The database allows you to do a number of things with Apple’s new handset, and it just added another cool feature. Read More


Google Working On Siri Clone Codenamed “Majel”

By Alex Heath on Dec 14, 2011

Google is reportedly working on its own version of Siri for upcoming Android devices. The project has been given the internal codename of “Majel” (a reference to Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the Federation Computer from Star Trek) and is meant to be an evolution of the current voice recognition technology in Android, Voice Actions.

Siri is by far the iPhone 4S’s hottest feature, and Apple has used marketing to put itself in the lead once again with the rest of the industry now forced to play catch-up. Will Google’s upcoming assistant be the competition that Siri needs? Read More


TV Industry Scrambling to Beat Apple to the Punch

By Cody Lee on Dec 9, 2011

The rumor mill can be fairly accurate when it comes to predicting major Apple products. There was tons of gossip regarding an Apple smartphone for at least a year leading up to the iPhone announcement. And the same goes with iPad rumors.

Manufacturers, for some reason, have always ignored the chatter surrounding Apple rumors. But it looks like the folks in the TV industry aren’t going to make that mistake this time around, as reports are coming in that TV-makers are already working on implementing voice control technology to beat Apple to the punch. Read More


Why Apple Released Siri in Beta

By Cody Lee on Dec 6, 2011

Siri has garnered a lot of media attention over the last month. Even hackers with intentions to port the digital assistant to other devices are making headlines. But along with all of the attention comes criticism. There’s a lot of folks that feel Siri isn’t worth the hype.

Apple has taken quite a bit of heat over releasing Siri, even though it’s labelled as “beta.” The company is typically known for releasing finely-tuned products that “just work,” and Siri doesn’t seem to fit that bill. But maybe Apple felt that it had to release Siri… Read More


ESRA: A Siri-Like Assistant For Older iOS 5 Devices

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 5, 2011

Let me preface this by saying that ESRA will be a disappointment to those who are expecting it to compete with Siri.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s talk more about this jailbreak app. ESRA stands for Experimental Speech Response Application, and as you can see from the video, it more than lives up to the “experimental” portion of the ESRA acronym… Read More

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