What is Siri?

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A few weeks prior to the SXSW conference, I was told I “needed” to download the Siri app for my iPhone. I did so, but hadn’t really had a chance to use it until I was talking to the people who created the app. If you’re a busy person who has things to do, Siri may well be the answer you’ve been looking for. You ask – and Siri will DO. Forget clicking a hundred links in your browser to accomplish something. Speak or type your request to Siri, and the app acts on your behalf, utilizing the best services on the web.

Siri is being called a “virtual personal assistant”, which is the perfect way to describe it. Let’s say you need dinner reservations for Friday night. Forget calling the restaurant or going to their website. Talk to Siri, tell it where you want to go (and when!), and it will get the reservation for you. Siri will delegate the task to various web services, including sites such as OpenTable. You can even schedule a taxi pickup.

It was pretty cool to see Siri recognize the question that was asked by voice, and translate that into text. One button tap confirmed that Siri had gotten it correct, and then the app went to work. Within mere seconds, Siri returned results. One more tap confirmed a dinner reservation. That’s faster AND easier than looking up a phone number, being put on hold, and attempting to get a reservation at my favorite place to dine.

With regular use, Siri could turn into a huge asset to many of us, helping to manage tasks and get things done. Have you downloaded the app yet? What are your thoughts?

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