This morning I was heading to a meeting 35 minutes away. I wanted to get some last-minute research done. Luckily I have my iPhone set up for hands-free communication.
This is the conversation I wanted to have:
Me: Hey, Siri – tell me about X corporation.
Siri: Ok M’lord…
[I should note at this point that Siri has a very old fashioned view of who I am. She used to call me “Buttface” but that got old quick]
Siri: Ok M’lord, here is what I found…
And then at this point, I expect to go into a dialog with Siri in which she speaks aloud basic info about the people and company I’m working with by summarizing data from sources I commonly visit like Wikipedia, LinkedIn, News and stock market reports, and I can reply with “Hey Siri, tell me more!” to get more info.
After all, Siri ain’t no spring chicken: she’s been around for several iPhones now. That’s decades in techno years.
Sadly, no such luck. Siri has nothing like this capability. Oh, she can speak aloud the most basic of current weather info while I’m driving, and she can read me my latest emails—but only if they’re short. Otherwise, she stops halfway through and prompts me to send a reply.
But she can’t summarize info for me. She can’t fill my car ride with spoken info that would help me prepare for my day. She can’t really act like the assistant I need. I want useful info, summarized and spoken aloud (or not, at my choice). The info she does deliver is in the form of a web search, shown on a screen I can’t look at while I’m driving.
Me: Hey Siri — If I could afford to look at web search results on my phone, I wouldn’t be talking to you in the first place!
Siri: I’m sorry, Buttface, I didn’t understand that.
Me: Oh, so now you call me Buttface?
Siri: Ok, m’lord, from now on I’ll call you Buttface.
It’s this kind of interaction that makes me a bit impatient with automated voice interaction. So I decide to switch to Google Now. “Hey Siri – Launch the Google app.” At least that works.
Me: “Ok, Google, What’s the news?”
Me: Oh, good lord. You just defined the word “News” for me. Thanks, Google. I don’t suppose “Put Cortana on the phone” will get me anywhere.
Guess I’ll have to wait and try Facebook M.