Apple Details Improvements to Siri's Ability to Recognize Names of Local Businesses and Destinations

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In a new entry in its Machine Learning Journal, Apple has detailed how it approached the challenge of improving Siri's ability to recognize names of local points of interest, such as small businesses and restaurants.


    In short, Apple says it has built customized language models that incorporate knowledge of the user's geolocation, known as Geo-LMs, improving the accuracy of Siri's automatic speech recognition system. These models enable Siri to better estimate the user's intended sequence of words.

    Apple says it built one Geo-LM for each of the 169 Combined Statistical Areas in the United States, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, which encompass 80 percent of the country's population. Apple also built a single global Geo-LM to cover all areas not defined by CSAs around the world.

    When a user queries Siri, the system is customized with a Geo-LM based on the user's current location. If the user is outside of a CSA, or if Siri doesn't have access to Location Services, the system defaults to the global Geo-LM.

    Apple's journal entry is highly technical, and quite exhaustive, but hopefully this means that Siri should be able to better understand the names of local points of interest, and also be able to better distinguish between a Tom's Restaurant in Iowa and Kansas based on a user's geolocation.

    In its testing, Apple found that the customized language models reduced Siri's error rate by between 41.9 and 48.4 percent in eight major U.S. metropolitan regions: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and San Francisco, excluding mega-chains like Walmart.

    Siri still trails Google Assistant in overall accuracy, according to a recent study by research firm Loup Ventures, but hopefully these improvements eliminate some of the frustration of querying Siri about obscurely named places.

    Article Link: Apple Details Improvements to Siri's Ability to Recognize Names of Local Businesses and Destinations
  2. DrJohnnyN macrumors 65816


    Jan 27, 2010
  3. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    I can’t remember the last time I summoned Siri for anything other than ... “hey Siri, set an alarm for 11am”.
  4. sundog925 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 19, 2011
    they should just get the rights to google assistant or alexa, since siri is garbage at this point.
  5. wayoutwest5505 macrumors member


    Jul 1, 2010
    I have never used siri. I'm too afraid of it.
  6. Jodeo macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    (ahem... )

    Dear Apple,

    Please visit


    Everyone named "Josiah"
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    What are you afraid of?
  8. GuruZac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 9, 2015
    Siri is about to catch up to Google Assistant now that Apple has the man behind Google Assistant John Giannandrea. Should be good times ahead for Siri functionality. FINALLY.
  9. Bswails macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2016
    Fingers crossed!
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    I just wish the "pick a number" feature would work consistently. I'd say pick a number between 1 and 7, then it would read that and then change the text to "pickernam" at the last moment. And then it'll say "1 plus 7 = 8".

    How on earth did it even get that from pickernam? Sigh I dunno.

    Pick a number between 1 and 5. Works fine.
    Then pick a number between 1 and 7. Might work fine.
    Then pick a number between 1 and 26. Goes all Pickernam. Why? :(
  11. Aftershok macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
  12. keifer.street macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2013
    Too bad Siri still sucks. This is what I got after reading the article and asking Siri when the nearest Best Buy will close. Instead of telling me when the Best Buy (5 mins from my house) will close or the hours, it searched a result for ‘Best Buy Soccer’, which is actually farther away than Best Buy. And it didn’t even give me the hours for that location, anyway - even though it was the wrong business. Major fail.

    I live in a metro area, Charlotte, NC so this search should not be difficult... if I wanted the hours for ‘Best Buy Soccer’ I would have added the word ‘Soccer’ to my query.

    Incidentally, Google Assistant gives me the correct answer to the same question. Every time.

    Attached Files:

  13. whyamihere macrumors 6502


    Jun 30, 2008
    They all worked fine for me, perhaps accent or enunciating plays a factor. One thing that might give you better results is to instead say "pick a number 1 through 7"
  14. JohnStrass macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Miami, USA
    ".... incorporate knowledge of the user's geolocation,..."

    Nokidding thats needed. Google maps: enter dr rodriguez, and it finds a Dr rodriquez in your vicinity.

    Do the same in apple maps and you get rodriguez fish restaurant 3000 miles away...
  15. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    I feel like a lot of Apple's features work great - as long as you are in California. I had a pretty good time navigating with my iPad in San Francisco using Siri and Apple Maps. Elsewhere? I go back to Google Maps pretty quickly.
  16. peteo macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2007
    Man the reviews of Best Buy Soccer are very bad. I wonder people get pissed because siri tells them to drive there and when that arrive find out that it's not an actual best buy.
  17. killr_b macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2005
    Except if you're in California, where half of everything is Spanish, Siri can't understand or pronounce anything...
  18. JohnStrass macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Miami, USA
    Apple can't even make searching within Maps work properly. It does not return location based on proximity. That should be a really simple fix, yet its been the problem for years. How hard is THAT to fix?
  19. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Thanks for the tip, I'll try that instead. Honestly it used to work absolutely fine, just seems the more I ask it the more unreliable it gets. Now it's practically 50/50 whether it works or not.

    Maybe it's because I ask the question so often with one question after the other, Siri thinks it heard me wrong and tries to figure out something else. I dunno.
  20. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    Doing this one thing supposedly reduced the error rate 40-50% in testing. Wow. I'd love to know what the error rate actually is.
  21. GuruZac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 9, 2015
    Yeah I would really love to use Maps exclusively, but Waze is far smarter and my wife and I have both had a lot of problems with Maps not rerouting. We're both on iPhone 7 Plus but she is on iOS 11.4.1 and I'm on iOS 12 Public Beta 5. I tried to use Siri the other day and it didn't seem like it saved much time. Maybe it gets better with use?
  22. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    Siri is certainly improving

    It’s getting there even with privacy being locked down
  23. KidAKidB macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2014
    I live in Toronto and when I tell Siri "Main Street" it gives me Main Street Vancouver, which is over 2000 miles away. Why in the world would it not give me Main Street, Toronto?

  24. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Don’t even get me started. What’s worse is if I use Siri to call Daniel Jones, she used to say, “Making a phone call to Daniel Jones.” However, just recently this got updated so she just says, “Making a phone call to Daniel.”

    Now I just hope she’s calling the right Daniel out of numerous Daniels in my contacts...
  25. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Siri will always suck, Apple refuses to fix it going around this whole ridiculous ‘privacy’ rubbish! Siri is as embarrassing on today’s tech world just as much as ios’s auto correction is! Both utterly utterly useless.

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