Is Siri a Disappointment?

February 1st, 2012 6 Comments

Well, this is interesting: Is it time to say goodbye to Siri?

A few months ago, when I finally upgraded my wife’s OG iPhone, I initially bought the 4, but settled on the 4S because she thought Siri sounded useful and cool. I told her my opinion, basically that voice was a neat feature that no one ever used consistently beyond the first week or so.

I recall telling Anthony (@anthonyslai) the same thing about Android’s voice input feature years ago too.

For a while there, Siri looked like the exception, not the rule. I’ve been eagerly watching hackers do very cool things with Siri, all the while noticing that my wife never uses Siri. When I quizzed her, she said it was good enough, i.e. down a lot, wrong, slow.

Even though Siri is awesome technology and by far the best voice-based interface I’ve seen to date, it’s still not good enough to create new behaviors, at least for her. Now, I’m reading similar stories from other people, purely anecdotal, but still curious.

So, is this your experience with the 4S or what you’ve heard from people who have one?


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6 Responses to “Is Siri a Disappointment?”

  1. Rodrigo Lima Says:

    what? Siri is great for entertainment (and by that I mean TV-jokes :-) http://www.tuaw.com/2012/01/30/siri-guest-stars-on-cbss-big-bang-theory/

  2. uvox Says:

    Don’t think it’s a disappointment pending on your expectations and experience of such technology before. Similar situation to yourself, I upgraded my partner’s phone to the 4S but not my own (waiting for the 5). The Siri option isn’t used at all and the comedic value has long since waned. Other than the ability to actually answer or react as intended, IMO there’s a significant social barrier to using the thing in public for relatively inane commands. A bit like the initial self-consciousness to talking around with a bluetooth earpiece or the sheer uncoolness factor of those phone cases than your dad attaches to his belt on his chinos.

    I just don’t have a real use case for asking my phone questions. I fact mainly use for other than talking to anyone: it’s mostly apps and music. At some point though, somebody will spark a huge revival in interest. Somewhere: http://blogs.oracle.com/translation/entry/sirious_business_enterprise_ux_and.

  3. Jake Says:

    Yeah, saw that. Great feature to show . . .

  4. Jake Says:

    Interesting point about using Siri in public. The promise of Apple’s ads is what is missing; not that ads matter, but like the original iPad ads, the Siri ones offer potential use cases, not existing ones.

    I think people forget to use Siri (and Android’s speech features), given that the behavior is so new for a phone. And, there’s still the input speed barrier too, i.e. how fast you can talk and still be understood.

  5. Bex Says:

    “it’s still not good enough to create new behaviors”

    That’s a good way to phrase it… in order to affect productivity, people need to be able to trust something enough to use it rather than the ‘old reliable’ system.

    It took Google Maps a long time to get there, but they eventually did. I’m concerned that speech recognition technology has pretty much plateaued, so Siri might never get there.

  6. Jake Says:

    Also applicable to social vs. email, I heard almost exactly the same thing from a guy who didn’t want to use one our alpha-stage file-syncing gizmo. He then said Twitter was reliable, which made me lulz. Anyway, the point is valid; social may never get past it inside the firewall, we’ll see.

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