America’s Hottest New Celebrity: Siri
Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant on the new iPhone 4S, is getting the star treatment all across the country. And at least one Silicon Valley entrepreneur thinks the soft-spoken computer program could take on the overlords of Internet functionality, Google.
One of the great surprises discovered by Siri users is that Apple programers have an active sense of humor, and so does the personal assistant program. Several Web sites, including S**t Siri Says and S** That Siri Says, highlight Siri’s feisty personality, her uncanny understanding of normal speech, and a disturbing grasp of illicit activities:
(Could a sitcom be in the program’s near future?)
Siri also got to upstage the famously unflappable Stephen Colbert:
But aside from all the laughs, Siri does represent a fundamental change in how people search the Internet—and how everyone may search it some day. Technology venture capitalist Gary Morgenthaler told CNET that Siri could one day represent a seamless path from ideas to actions:
When you search, what you want back is not a million blue links. What you want back is one correct answer. Siri, because it has the semantic layer, is not just responding to keywords; it’s responding to a conceptual understanding of what it is that you said. And therefore it’s able to retrieve for you exactly the right information you want. Or, better still, if you intend to do something with that information–to make a transaction, say–Siri could take you all the way to that transaction.
Morgenthaler adds that this capacity is “an existential threat” to Google.
Indeed, he almost quoted Google co-founder Larry Page‘s famous statement that “the perfect search engine understands exactly what you mean, and gives you back exactly what you want.”
What do you think? Is Apple beating Google to developing “the perfect search engine”?