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October 4th 2011 7:53 pm

Would you actually use Siri on your iPhone?

So Siri is obviously a feature that Apple is putting major emphasis, after all, they dedicate a lengthy section of their keynote demonstrating it. While they definitely put together a bunch of use cases where this feature would come in handy, would you actually end up using this feature a lot?

Given my experience with Google Voice Search, I wouldn't use this feature (if I had an iPhone). Google Voice Search has some of the features that Siri can do, not all, but it includes texts, emails, nav, etc, but I rarely ever use it for a few reasons:
  • Accuracy: I never found the voice commands to be accurate enough. I'd say they work the majority of the time, but when it fumbles on a word or two it's a hassle to go back and fix it
  • User error: For myself, I find I screw up my voice commands a lot. It's hard to explain, but it's similar to the situations where you have to record something and you want to get it right, but I tend to screw up because of the pressure.
  • Awkwardness: I find it sort of awkward to say commands into my phone in public. You can say that it's not that much different from talking on your phone in public, but I still find it to be weird.
  • Ease of use: After adding up the three points above, a few taps and swipes is all i really need to do to get the job done. I never really had an issue using my phone this way, nor wished that I could just speak commands.
So, are you excited for Siri? Do you think you'll use it a lot?

More info on Siri here: www.apple.com­/iphone­/features­/siri.html

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5 replies

If I had a 4S, I would most certainly use it. That being said, I would be concerned however with your first point there, accuracy. That would be the deciding factor whether I actually use it daily or not after I try it. User error happens, I'll deal with it, awkwardness doesn't apply to me as I have no problem whatsoever talking to my phone in public, it's just like talking on a bluetooth headset in public (and you can pretend you're someone important ^_^). As for ease of use, knowing Apple, it'll probably be pretty darn easy to navigate seeing how there are plenty of non tech-savvy people who own their products, and Apple knows it. So I'd hope that wouldn't be an issue.
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I'm like you, Cass. I use an Android phone and I rarely use the text features on it, though they sound great. Maybe it's just a matter of making a habit, but I think it has to do a lot with the accuracy and ease of use issues you mentioned. If Siri improves on these areas, then perhaps it will be more useful.
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It looks like overall apple has greatly improved voice commands. In the video and the demo on stage, the people seemed to be taking normally and Siri picked up the commands without a problem.
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I am excited for it. I think it will revolutionize how productive people can be who drive a lot. I think your greatly underestimating the amount of people who drive more than 1 hour a day and would love to have the capability that people who take public transportation have, but while their driving.

I honestly don't know how much I would use it, but it's one of those things that pushes the envelope. 4G is not going to be exciting when everyone has it just as 3G is old news now.

But having a "Personal Assistant" tell you to call your doctor/wife/cable guy when you leave work is real progression. These intangible things tend to be all or nothing and I hope this really does hit a home run. I don't see college kids or students using this much, but I do see professionals and sales people loving it.
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My take on voice commands is that they have to be 100% all the time or people will stop using them because of the annoyance factor. I have rarely used voice commands on my Android phones because all it takes is the one time of it accidentally calling someone other than who I wanted to make me no longer trust it. I hate the feeling of rapidly hitting the cancel button hoping you hang up before your number shows up on someone's call log that you dialed accidentally.

There is nothing I hate worse than calling a support line only to discover they only support voice commands and not entering numbers. I don't want to say my credit card number out loud you idiots!!!! There are some things for which voice will never be a good option. The reason I point this out is that, if you have to switch back to doing certain things without voice anyway, it's hard to get in the habit of using it regularly enough to really change your life.

All that said, the one thing about Siri that might make it work is the "graceful fail", where it asks questions if it is not 100% sure what you meant. The conversational context aspect might also make this more viable.

Voice always sounds like such a great idea until you actually use it. The situations for which it is a real value, as opposed to a gimmick, are too narrow.
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