Siri's novelty is wearing off ... for some
New York Times technology writer Nick Bilton may be breaking up with Siri, per his post on the NYT Bits blog.
Bilton's on-again, off-again love affair with Apple's intelligent assistant seems to be familiar territory for some other iPhone 4S users. He notes that "Many people I have spoken to have switched Siri off and reverted to the iPhone's voice dictation service, which is more reliable because it doesn't use Siri's artificial intelligence software."
According to Bilton, Gene Munster -- our favorite securities analyst from Piper Jaffray -- ran a series of 1,600 voice tests with Siri. It could hear requests fairly well, understanding 89 percent of requests made in a quiet room and 83 percent of those made on a noisy city street. But Siri's understanding isn't that great; Munster said that it could only accurately answer a question 68 percent of the time in a quiet room or 62 percent of the time on the street.
Munster gave Siri a "D" and says that the beta service needs to sharply improve. Bilton has spurned Siri for another sexy voice, that of Google Voice Search on Android phones. He may not realize he can already use that same technology via the free Google Search app on his iPhone 4S.
The public seems to still have a fondness for Siri. A survey by John Barrett of Parks Associates cited in Bilton's article showing that 55 percent of respondents gave Siri a high rating, 21 percent said it was "satisfactory," and only 10 percent completely dissatisfied with it.
For me, I've found that the more I use Siri, the better my success with her. Maybe Siri likes me just because I used her as the lead character in a book, but I still find her enchanting, helpful, and sometimes mysterious. Don't worry about that breakup with Nick Bilton, Siri; you'll always have me, even if my love is a bit one-sided...