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Ten things I want Siri to be able to do for me


Now that I've had my iPhone 4S for a couple of days, I'm amazed with what Siri can do. I've asked a number of questions -- real ones, not questions like "What is the meaning of life?" -- and have been totally impressed with how my interaction with the iPhone has changed. But there are more things I'd love to be able to do with Siri, which is the reason for this post.

Everyone should understand that Siri is currently a beta product from Apple. A lot of the things I'm talking about here should happen once the product is out of beta and developers are given access to a Siri API. This is my way of letting some iOS developers know that I'd love to see Siri integration in their apps. Here we go:

  1. I'd love to be able to check into FourSquare using Siri: "Check me in here"
  2. I want to be able to send tweets through Siri without having to use text messaging as an intermediary: "Tweet @NikFinn that I'm sorry to hear that you dislocated your finger"
  3. I want to be able to have Siri check for reservation availability at OpenTable restaurants (I understand that the "original" Siri app did have OpenTable integration): "Make a reservation for two at Tamayo for 5:30 Friday evening"
  4. Likewise, for a fun evening you might want to buy tickets at a local movie theater. Adding the ability to pick a movie time by asking "What time is 'Moneyball' playing near here?" and getting a choice of times, then saying "7:30 at the AMC 24 would be fine, and I need two tickets" to have Siri purchase those tickets would be a time saver.
  5. How about being able to shop with Siri? Integration with would be wonderful: "Find the lowest price for a 3 TB FireWire 800 disk drive." Once you see the specs, Siri asks "Would you like to buy this item?" Answer yes, and you've purchased it, answer no and Siri asks if you'd like to look at other similar items.
  6. Healthcare could benefit from this. Imagine having Siri integration with apps such as WebMD, and being able to hold a conversation about symptoms before getting a list of possible conditions. Or asking what the side effects of a certain drug are, and having Siri read back a list of those effects. Cool.
  7. Healthcare providers could also make life easier for their patients. My provider, Kaiser Permanente, has a wonderful online system for making appointments, contacting my doctor, and getting refills on prescriptions. Doing that by just saying "Order a 90-day refill of my Zantac" or "See if Dr. Healey has an appointment time available tomorrow," and then being able to pick from a couple of open appointment slots would be a time saver.
  8. My wife uses an app called Grocery iQ to create a grocery shopping list each week. I'd love to be able to have Siri read me the list one or two items at a time without having to stop, look at the screen, and physically scroll the list. How about being able to say "Read me the first two items on my grocery list" and have Siri respond with those? Follow that up as you walk around the store with "OK, what are the next two items?" and so on.
  9. For business travelers, the ability to make reservations on the run would be priceless. How about adding Siri integration to apps like TripAssist by Expedia or Kayak? While you're running through an airport trying to catch a flight, being able to say "Get me a hotel room near the airport in Frankfurt, Germany" and have it respond with "Would you like me to book a room at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport at €163 per night?" could make the difference between having a room when you arrive or not.
  10. Finally, what about being able to do something like ask Siri to get a bunch of articles about a particular subject and put them into your Instapaper account? You say "Get me ten articles about terraforming Mars" and Siri grabs ten of the most popular web pages about the subject for you.

I think that Siri has the ability to become the intelligent agent that the mid-90s MagicCap mobile operating system always wanted to be. While MagicCap's TeleScript agents suffered from the lack of cheap and ubiquitous Internet service as well as public acceptance of electronic commerce, those barriers are no longer a problem. Add Siri as a super-friendly interface, and the future is going to be very nice indeed.

What are some of your ideas for "serious" integration of Siri into your daily life? Leave your comments below.

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