Siri - why isn't it getting better?

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by motulist, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    when siri first came out it was understandable that it was far from perfect because naturally it would need some training to get better, but now siri has been out for years and it's still half retarded. For example, I asked "Where's the nearest Apple store?" and she replied "Big Apple Fruit Store is 1.5 miles away." Seriously?

    I use Siri several times a day and I'm glad to have the functionality available, but after years of training it really should be better than it is at this point. At the very least they should put a clickable button on the Siri response page that says "this result was not what I wanted" so that Siri and the programmers learn what areas they need to work on improving.
  2. Böhme417 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2009
    Well, to be fair, that's not wrong.

    I agree with you, though. I feel like with as long as Siri has been out compared to others, she should be better. There are too many things she doesn't understand and just returns web searches. She also still sounds too robotic, IMO.
  3. duffman9000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2003
    Deep in the Depths of CA
    Siri has gotten a little better, but don't try to compare it to Google Now. That's just crazy.

    If you think Siri stupid, you haven't used Maps much. It is not very good when using natural language to describe a place using only the name and street. Such as, "UPS on vernon street". That has taken me to a different state.
  4. Teste macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    That's because Siri is an useless gimmick perpetually stuck in beta. The fact it STILL requires internet access to set reminders, while you can perfectly set reminders yourself while off-line, is all the proof you need that Apple really couldn't care less.

    Siri was used as the gimmick of choice to sell one iPhone generation. Now that Apple is focusing on newer gimmicks for newer models, don't expect any improvement any time soon.
  5. TranceNW macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2007
    Essex, United Kingdom
    Not sure I agree. In my opinion Apple will continue to invest in Siri. They'd be foolish not to. It's only a matter of time until we see Siri on the Mac too.
  6. duffman9000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2003
    Deep in the Depths of CA
    They've invested continually. IIRC there is a team in Boston. The end result so far has been poor.
  7. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    And the original Siri team left Apple a long time ago.
  8. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    No way, totally wrong. As I said in my original post, I use Siri several times a day and I'm definitely happy to have that functionality available. And that's exactly why it disappoints me that Siri isn't better than it already is.
  9. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    I don't really agree with this. They have their strengths. Google Now works best for the things Google is traditionally good at - web lookup-type searches using simple terms.

    Siri has much better integration with the operating system itself than Google Now (and I'm comparing Google Now on Android to Siri on iOS, since it's not a fair fight otherwise.) Google Now lets you perform some OS-related functions, but Siri supports a lot more and with more flexibility. For instance, both services allow you to launch apps by name, but Siri as far better at it - it always gets the right app, even if the name is complex or I have similarly named app or I don't speak the name exactly as the app is titled. It virtually never fails to open the right thing. Google Now on my Nexus 5 requires me to get the app's name perfect every time, and even then will randomly decide to do a web search for the term instead, even if what I said exactly matches an installed app. It also has trouble with things like numbers in names – it always seems to interpret the spoken number as the word (e.g., "one" inside of "1") and when it does so it will refuse to open any apps that have the number written as a digit (until recently this consistently did not work. They seem to have made some back end changes and it will now sometimes do digit-to-word mapping correctly, but it seems very random and unreliable still.)

    Siri's natural language parsing is also much better (as imperfect as it can be at times.) For instance, if I ask Siri "What's the highest rated restaurant in town?" it will leverage Yelp and bring up the profile for the highest rated restaurant, along with reviews, hours, directions, menus, etc. If I ask Google Now the same question, it just does a standard Google search for that exact phrase.

    Google Now's killer feature seems to be its automatic component - the ability to use your search history, location history and email to display cards with timely and relevant data. Unfortunately in my experience about 95% of the utility of this feature comes from the email scanning, which requires a consumer gmail account in order to work. Even my Google Apps for Business account is not compatible. If you aren't using free Gmail as your only email account, this feature isn't very useful at all.
  10. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2008
    Im so grateful apple invested millions in developing Siri - so that i now can set my timer for boiling eggs using only my voice.
  11. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010
    Which I use it for on a daily basis. It's a very nice timesaver.
  12. El Maestro macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2010
    I also find myself wishing Siri was a little better sometimes. It's weird, sometimes I get exactly what I want and I am amazed. Other times, she either completely misunderstands me even though I have the most generic accent/voice possible, or, provides downright wrong information.

    Quick example: there's a place in my town called the Gardenview Diner. Good, basic diner food. Anyway, I was driving there one afternoon and wasn't sure if it was open. I asked Siri to tell me if it was open (I have done this with other places successfully before), and as I was pulling into the parking lot noticing it was open, she was telling me there was no such restaurant within close driving distance.

    I agree with the poster above who finds that the best use of Siri is the Clock app. I use Siri to set and turn off alarms and timers nearly daily. It always works the first time. For some reason I find setting alarms and timers click/swipe intensive (it requires a lot of input to do a simple thing) and being able to just tell the phone to do it is extremely convenient (and kinda "Star Trekky"). I eagerly await a day when there are more things like it.

    I think another, related, big issue is that there hasn't been that "silver bullet" in voice recognition technology that combines better basic word recognition and back-end processing that deals with things like nuance and context to really understand what the user is looking for/wants to do. Siri is better at this than just about everything else, but it's more often the "least bad" option. I do hope to see it improve.
  13. PlatinuM195 macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2009
    I only really use Siri when I'm driving, but it's extremely convenient.

    I'll just keep it open most of the time, and I can just read/reply to text messages using 'Hey Siri' and occasionally make a speaker phone call to someone.

    Apart from driving I barely use it...but when driving, I just it a ton.
  14. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011

    True, but Siri is just one of many services Apple had to focus on. We will definitely see improvements from time to time, but not at breakneck speeds. You can't compare this with Google, who only needs to focus on software.
  15. imejh macrumors member


    Mar 4, 2013
  16. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

    Feb 9, 2014
    It seemed to me that Siri had a big upgrade pushed out a few months ago as far as voice recognition goes. It used to be about 50% accuracy, at best, for my voice. Now I'd say it's closer to 90%.
  17. KeepCalmPeople macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2012
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    Yesterday it literally took me 15 minutes to send a message to my son saying 'On my way' using 'Hey Siri'.

    The first 3 or 4 attempts resulted in Siri thinking for about 20 seconds, then saying 'I'm sorry, but I cannot take any requests right now' (this with a solid LTE signal).

    Finally Siri 'got' my command, but I just used my son's first name and I have another contact with the same first name. So Siri assumed I meant the other contact without asking me which contact I wanted to send the message to. God knows how you correct that using voice commands, so I just started from scratch.

    After that it took a couple of attempts to get Siri to get the message right, and I said 'period' instead of 'full stop' and I use English (UK) Siri, so Siri wrote out the word 'period'.

    Just painful, and frankly more of a distraction than typing it out while at a standstill.

    Other times, though, it has been word perfect. But it's nothing more than a novelty if you can't rely on it.
  18. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012

    I disagree with your example of why it's a gimmick. Although it can be a pain in low signal strength area it needs to remain server based. Apple is improving the server side of siri so it can be updated for better voice recognition and other various things without a user end update.

    It's kind of like maps. If maps were on your phone it would require constant updating or long periods between improvements.

    So an accent recognition can be updated, and that reminder app can function for a user with no change in their phone overnight. Save the functional updates for iOS updates, like Hey Siri.

    The reason I personally find Siri gimmicky is because I need to remind myself constantly that it's there. If I found it not to be a gimmick I wouldn't need to do that. That's subjective though, and I still use it especially Hey Siri while driving.
  19. luked14 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    For me, Siri is just "good enough" to use in the car while I'm driving, but for any other purpose I don't find it useful. It seems to have gotten a little better over time but it's far from perfect.
  20. APlotdevice macrumors 68040


    Sep 3, 2011
    Siri is a critical component for the :apple:Watch, so I wouldn't be surprised if they introduce some major improvements at or just prior to its launch.

    The reason it needs an internet connection is because Siri uses a remote server to interpret your voice. Said server has more processing power and saves at least several hundred MB of internal storage that would otherwise be consumed by voice processing software.
  21. asleep macrumors 68040


    Sep 26, 2007
    Siri found my nearest Apple Store right away. Maybe because it's close?
  22. R.Perez macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    As a recent convert to iPhone from Android, Google Now trumps Siri 9 times out of 10. That said, I'm sticking with my iPhone, that camera and battery life...DANG!
  23. SarahCat macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2014

    I have the iPad2 while my mom got the Apple iPad 4th gen. We use Siri a lot for reminders because it is easier to have her do it, than to manually do it ourselves. Siri gets the reminders correctly every time.

    There are a lot of things that we ask it, that it only returns web searches for, because it doesn't understand the context in which it is used. The dictation feature for emails and documents, are extremely helpful to me and better than similar softwares from different companies. Speaking is easier than typing, and I can edit mistakes later.

    As others have said, Siri launches apps correctly, for me, every time as well, as well as telling it to make FaceTime calls to so and so, even if their names are hard to pronounce.

    I think Siri is great, but again, I think it needs to learn context as opposed to just recognizing our voices.

    I hope that Apple continues to improve on Siri and add its functionality to Macs.
  24. Alimar macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2014
    New York State
    So, I was watching 'House' on NetFlix via my iPad. It was next to my charging iPhone, and all of a sudden, one of the actors says, "Are you serious?" My iPhone was set for 'Hey Siri' and she immediately answered the dialog (as she interpreted it) from the episode I was watching...

    Attached Files:

  25. jmantn macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2012
    There was a top story post here or 9to5 a while back stating apple was looking to bring Siri in house as of now I believe we have an agreement for the underlying coding but apple doesn't own it.

    I have seen several Siri job postings which could indicate a major Siri refresh next year not to mention I'm expecting actual voice recognition in 2015's devices.

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