Siri

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Since we finished Reboot, we’ve had several people ask “So what’s the next technology trend to watch?”. In the book, we talk quite a bit about mobile solutions, the cloud and collaboration.

But I think we can get a hint of one of the new things in Siri: the new iPhone 4s voice recognition software. Siri is, in effect, a combination of a mobile device, a cloud solution and new voice recognition software. I’ve had it now for a couple days and even though I know there are thousands of blogs on “her” already . . . here is one more.

Siri is actually pretty fun. Trying to figure out what she can do is part of the challenge. Of course, I’ve tried the obligatory “Will you marry me?”, “What is the meaning of life?”, and “How many chucks could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” (Apparently, He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
if a woodchuck could chuck wood.) She can also do some fairly useful things like tell me the weather, find a good Chinese restaurant or gas station, and check on stocks. She can’t find a movie time, check on a flight departure, or hear me in a crowded room.

Like many of Apple’s first generation products, Siri is fun and helpful, but a bit flaky. I’ve had several frustrating “conversations” with her where she misunderstands something that appears to be completely obvious. On the other hand, I haven’t typed a text message in 4 days . . . I just dictate and she types. Siri will evolve. Google has already announced plans to launch a competitor, Microsoft can’t be far behind (or can they?). And, of course, new players will enter this space. We are now at the point where the combination of blazing fast hardware and new software algorithms make it possible to have something like a virtual assistant.

So my vote, for the next tech trend to watch: voice.

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