Why Google and Microsoft need to fear Siri
Tech.pinions' Tim Bajarin has opined on why they feel Google and Microsoft hate Siri, citing some excellent sources. As the article states, Google's Andy Rubin told the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, "You shouldn't be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone." Likewise, Bajarin quotes Microsoft's Andy Lees saying it "isn't super useful."
The reasons he gives behind Microsoft and Google's dismissal comes down to two no-brainer answers: Jealously and knowing that Siri will develop into such a powerhouse that it will be a threat to business. And, you know what? He's right.
Bajarin points out that Siri is a front to some major databases including Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. And, just wait until Apple allows developers at Siri's API. The possibilities will be endless. Even now, like Remember the Milk has done, developers are figuring out ways to make Siri work for them. Siri's future paves the way for similar technology to be introduced across all Apple products. Tech.pinions sees Siri as "the gatekeeper to natural language searching" and urges Apple to acquire as many databases as it can to promote this. I think Apple should open the API to developers.
I also think it's more than gatekeeping.
I had the absolute thrilling experience Tuesday to watch someone be introduced to an Apple product for the first time. I was in a Verizon store starting the process of switching carriers, and the other woman in there was picking up her new iPhone 4S.
It was amazing to see her use Siri for the first time, as the salesman asked for hamburger joints, and Siri responded with several locations. He had her instruct Siri to call her spouse, which it did. She talked for a bit, then started playing with the other features. She called one of her children using FaceTime. I finished my business and left before she did, but watching her morph from skeptic to fan was brilliant. Apple's most likely gained another lifetime customer.
And a big chunk of it is that Siri makes an already easy-to-use device even easier. Right out of the package, you can press and hold a button and have Siri do so much for you. My grandmother, who had crippling arthritis by the end of her life, could have used Siri to enrich her life.
To circle back to Rubin's quote, you're not just communicating with your phone. You're using it as a bridge to be able to connect with people on the other side of the phone easier. Whoever possesses the technology and ability to do this will be the one to dominate the industry in the future, and right now, the ball is in Apple's court.
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