Is that Ellen DeGeneres? No, it’s Siri!

by Svenja Borgschulte, Story & Social

Language assistants are designed to maximize ease of use for iPhone users and to make all functions possible without manual input. Today, Apple’s Siri is the most famous language assistant and a useful helping hand. But still she divides opinion. So what makes her so appealing and, on the other hand, when does she frustrate us to the point of nervous breakdown? Let’s check:

Siri is the undisputed master of small talk. The web go wild for the often funny answers she gives to serious questions. Millions of people all across the world enjoy Siri’s assistance. She currently speaks 40 languages more or less fluently. But when it comes to an Irish or British accent, her sense of hearing often leaves a lot to be desired (let’s hope it’s nothing personal ...).

What’s more, Siri only recognizes the language selected as the iPhone’s system language. For example, Siri gets confused if you ask her to play French, Spanish or German songs, if your iPhone is set in English. This is the cause of some frustration!

Train Siri and you’ll be her perfect partner

Ok, let’s set these small grievances aside for now, Siri has many useful advantages. Even if she can’t speak and understand different languages simultaneously, her sense of language is still magnificent. Did you know that Siri can be trained to respond to your own individual voice?! There’s a great story about Google’s Superbowl ad accidentally setting off a lot of Google Homes activity. It’s pretty cool that you can train Siri to only react to your voice. Of course though sometimes our friends and relations sound the same as us which can be confusing, even to humans! You can’t have everything can you.

Unfortunately, experience shows that commands by exclamation only work if the iPhone or iPad is connected to a power supply. Theoretically, this should work in the car too if your phone is plugged in, but often charging jacks in vehicles are not strong enough. In these instances you have to keep the home button pressed until Siri wakes up. But of course this is not only impractical in the car, but also forbidden.

Just talk to me

When we don’t have a hand free to operate the home button, Siri only works by voice. There is no alternative keyboard entry (a problem that has been vocally criticized by the deaf community). Unfortunately, people still find it a bit embarrassing to speak to Siri in public. This seems to be a matter of habit: fifteen years ago, SMS texters were more inclined to chat on the phone in the subway. Even nowadays, thanks to wireless headsets, people seem to opt for wireless headphones and headsets as long as they don’t have to look at their displays. With this evidence we can conclude that it’s only a matter of time until Siri will have conquered the public spaces as well.

Siri has only triangle connections

Finally, those that think Siri can only process quick, short messages are wrong. Siri is more receptive than most people think. For example you can easily dictate entire texts and emails. What’s more, Siri is also able to read extensive text messages in a comprehensible manner, as long as there is an internet connection (Siri operates completely in the Cloud, so is always in need of a stable internet connection). Even for simple commands like setting the timer or alarm or playing music the internet is always required.

Putting all these aside though, Siri, we have to give you some credit for trying your best. And if you fail, you still make us laugh. Just like Ellen DeGeneres. Thank you, Siri!


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Svenja Borgschulte (“Rosalie”) is responsible for Story & Social at German Autolabs. She loves flamingos, football and pasta.

svenja@germanautolabs.com
+49 30 120 851 99

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