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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:18 AM   #1
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A Look at the History of Siri and How it Almost Became an Android Exclusive for Verizon




A few of the details on the the history of Siri, including Steve Jobs' move to contact the company just three weeks after the independent app's launch, have surfaced over the last several years, but The Huffington Post has now published an extensive history of the technology and company that reveals a few other interesting details.

The report outlines how Siri grew out of a Department of Defense project to integrate with 42 different web services to perform its virtual assistant services, many of which were discontinued when Apple scaled back the platform for inclusion in iOS. Apple has been relatively slow to build Siri's feature set back up, but has been making progress on the effort.

Perhaps most interestingly, the report reveals that Siri was very nearly an Android exclusive for Verizon, but the deal was obviously broken when Steve Jobs and Apple moved quickly to acquire Siri.
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In the fall of 2009, several months before Apple approached Siri, Verizon had signed a deal with the startup to make Siri a default app on all Android phones set to launch in the new year. When Apple swooped in to buy Siri, it insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices, and nixed the Verizon deal. In the process, it narrowly avoided seeing Siri become a selling point for smartphones powered by its biggest rival, Google. (Somewhere in the vaults of the wireless giant, there are unreleased commercials touting Siri as an Android add-on.)
The report goes on to discuss some of the challenges faced by Siri at Apple, including difficulties in negotiating partnerships with content providers, Apple's emphasis on broadening access to other countries and languages over pushing the technology forward for a smaller subset of users, and corporate politics that have resulted in the loss of some of Siri's biggest advocates at Apple.

Siri is also facing strong competition from the Android platform of which it was almost a part. Google has moved quickly to develop its own virtual assistant capabilities in the form of Google Now, and many are looking for Apple to step up the pace of improvement with Siri in order to reestablish it in users' minds as a key advantage for Apple as it was touted at its 2011 launch on the iPhone 4S.

Article Link: A Look at the History of Siri and How it Almost Became an Android Exclusive for Verizon
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:25 AM   #2
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Apple has hosed many people without meaning too. In this case Verizon became attached to another object by an inclined plane wrapped helically around another object.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:25 AM   #3
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Siri is still crippled and barely useful - especially in loud situations. It's been relegated in my experience to setting up reminders and asking about sports scores...
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:29 AM   #4
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Useless until it can successfully execute "Siri, make me a sandwich."
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Shasterball View Post
Siri is still crippled and barely useful - especially in loud situations. It's been relegated in my experience to setting up reminders and asking about sports scores...
I always get the reply that the server is too busy.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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Siri is useless, in our house all I ever hear people using it for is "X minute timer" when cooking and the occasional whats the sport score. It is quite handy at opening apps..... unless its noisy.

We are all tech savvy people, 4 iPhone 4's in the house and we hardly use it.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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So does this mean we can stop with the "Apple only cares about America" angle?
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:35 AM   #8
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and corporate politics that have resulted in the loss of some of Siri's biggest advocates at Apple

-looks like politics ruin everything
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ds2000 View Post
Siri is useless, in our house all I ever hear people using it for is "X minute timer" when cooking.

We are all tech savvy people, 4 iPhone 4's in the house and we hardly use it.
None of your have siri unless you have 4 iPhone 4S's
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:38 AM   #10
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Apple has hosed many people without meaning too. In this case Verizon became attached to another object by an inclined plane wrapped helically around another object.
Nice TBBT reference...
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:39 AM   #11
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Siri was great as an independent app. Of course it wasn't integrated into an OS. But a great app - that DID indeed, become crippled once bought by Apple.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:40 AM   #12
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Siri, what a waste of space that is!
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:40 AM   #13
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I think some of the reasons that Google Now is good vs Siri is because it actively "guesses" what you need, while Siri is something you need to constantly ask things of. Google Now alerts you with things before you even think of asking them.

However, one of the big hurdle Siri faces is its reliance on always-on connectivity. Without a data connection, Siri can't even perform offline functions on your phone (like setting reminders, opening apps, playing music that's stored in your library) which also hurts perception of its use when you're limited for connectivity (low signal areas or plain not having data because being abroad). I don't know how Google Now fares in this capacity, not having really used it.

Anyway, I've disabled Siri, much less time consuming to just touch my way to things than ask it, wait for it to analyse what I want, ask for a confirmation, wait for it to analyse my confirmation.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:42 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by AustinIllini View Post
So does this mean we can stop with the "Apple only cares about America" angle?
What? Apple must be one of the most worldwide-release and worldwide-accessible friendly tech companies out there. Devices are launched close to simultaneously, and services catch up very quickly. In this aspect, they are light years ahead of Google, Amazon, Netflix, and pretty much everybody else too. (And don't get me wrong, I'm more of an Android user) I never heard anybody say that Apple only cares about America :S so I was surprised.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:42 AM   #15
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Apple needs to improve SIRI's accuracy. I find myself needing to repeat several times - so its quicker to do the task manually.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:43 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Shasterball View Post
Siri is still crippled and barely useful - especially in loud situations. It's been relegated in my experience to setting up reminders and asking about sports scores...
I use it all the time. Mostly for dictating text messages or getting directions while I drive, but sometimes for reminders, sports scores, and quick notes. I rarely have to repeat myself, so I don't know where people's issues are coming from. I'm not saying the issues aren't there... they just aren't for me.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:46 AM   #17
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Siri is terrible.

The stand-alone app could do so much more (get a taxi, etc).

The Apple-version relies way too much on server-side processing.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:46 AM   #18
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Siri is more of a prototype of a future locally run Siri that will offer 100 times more functionality. Something like J.A.V.I.S from Iron Man. Then people will use it.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:47 AM   #19
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Siri will improve over time. The more people that use it is the only way Apple can collect true data on how we speak to Siri, and what we want Siri to do that it can't do already.

Google uses it much better because it searches for things it can't do Automatically. Most of us (like myself) hate when the "would you like for me to search blah blah blah" response comes up, Google's just does it and its much faster.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:51 AM   #20
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Without a data connection, Siri can't even perform offline functions on your phone... which also hurts perception of its use when you're limited for connectivity
That's a good point. When Siri eventually comes out of beta, I would bet it'll be more standalone. It works fast on Wi-Fi and passable on LTE/4G but Google's voice search on the iPhone shows you can do transcription immediately without a data connection. That's where Siri needs to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimUSCA View Post
I use it all the time. Mostly for dictating text messages or getting directions while I drive, but sometimes for reminders, sports scores, and quick notes.
That's what Siri is great for. Anything short and to the point. Setting reminders, timers, and alarms and sending quick texts Siri has been immensely useful for me. Without Siri those quick tasks would easily take a lot longer... unlock your phone, get into the app you want, find or type in what you need and get out. Siri does all that in about 1 press. I don't think it was ever intended to dictate long e-mails.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 09:53 AM   #21
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As with others, I use Siri for reminders and timers, occasionally Sports Scores and Cinema times. But until its 100% perfect, I can't see the point in lots of areas unless I'm using both hands already.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:00 AM   #22
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I can only imagine what it must be like having to deal with all the many strange accents out there. It isn't nearly enough to segment Siri by country, you have to segment by part of country, like the southern US accent vs northern accent, maybe even the Bostonian accent, then there's the black accent, and all those exist in one country and are quite different in many ways... Then we head to England and... Oh boy.
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:01 AM   #23
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the most useless feature on my iphone

if i want to check the scores, i go to espn or yahoo
if i want movie times i go to fandango

the reason is the apps give so much more information than what you ask for
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:05 AM   #24
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Have enough people used it long enough already for it not to be in beta anymore?
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:08 AM   #25
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Siri? Siri?

Siri? Siri? What was that again? Ah yes, I remember, that was that party joke back then! Yeah, we had a good one...
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