Whether you love or hate the iPhone, there’s no denying that Apple’s new Siri assistant is an astonishing piece of software. Speech-to-text functionality has been around for a while, but no other application is quite as remarkable as Siri.
It’s no wonder, then, that Google’s Head of Android, Andy Rubin, is a little bitter about the latest product from the company’s biggest rival. Following the launch of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) at an event in Hong Kong this week, Rubin said during an interview that we should not be communicating with our devices, but using them to communicate with real people instead:
“I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant.
“Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.”
Rubin does admit that Apple did a “good job” of bringing Siri to the market at the right time, but he does emphasize that this kind of feature is nothing new:
“To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone. We’ll see how pervasive it gets.
“This isn’t a new notion. In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade.”
While that may be the case, no other company has created voice recognition software quite like Apple’s. Admittedly, there are other impressive speech-to-text services out there, like those from Nuance, and indeed those built into Android and Google’s Translate application. But I think you’ll agree that Siri certainly has the edge.
Sure, our devices should be used for communicating with real people, but Siri isn’t there to be our friend. It’s there to make things easier — especially for those who are partially sighted and may not be able to use their touchscreen devices so easily.
What do you think about Siri? Are you as impressed with it as I am, or do you think Rubin has a point?