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"You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone" -- Andy Rubin, Google

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday showed love for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and its "humble personal assistant" Siri at the AsiaD conference, stating, "Apple is a good competitor, but a different one.  Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically…"

But the next day his underling, Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees, was far less charitable.  He commented that Siri isn't "super useful" and argued that the similar voice assistant functionality found on Windows Phone 7 Mango is more useful.  Despite the fact that Siri uses the internet and plugs in to services like Wolfram Alpha (and, ironically Bing), he chastises that it's not a truly connected solution.  He says that Windows Phone's Bing-driven implementation gives you "the full power of the internet, rather than a certain subset."

Andy Lees interview
Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees gets queried by Ina Fried. [Source: AllThingsD]

He also said that Microsoft generally doesn't agree with Apple's premise of generally barking commands into your phone in public, though Microsoft does support such interaction targeted at specific environments, such as in the privacy of your car.

Similar criticisms were sounded by Android chief, Google, Inc. (GOOG) SVP Andy Rubin.  He comments, "I don't believe that your phone should be an assistant.  Our 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."

Andy Rubin
Google SVP and Android chief Andy Rubin [Source: AllThingsD]

When it comes to talking to someone on the phone, he argues that's perfectly normal, stating, "To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone."

But when it comes to talking to a sassy AI agent he expresses skepticism that it will be a healthy or popular exercise.  He states, "We’ll see how pervasive it gets."

And he says that the tech is nothing new.  He pointed out that Android co-founder Rich Miner worked to bake a similar cellphone speech assistant into his company's OS, but that Google opted to stick with just commands, not a more talkative assistant.

He did offer some faint praise for Apple's app, admitting that it is polished, at the very least.  He remarks, "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."

Sources: Engadget, AllThingsD



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Not good....
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/20/2011 12:11:56 PM , Rating: 5
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44966147

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for the security firm Sophos, found that a person can speak a command into an iPhone 4S, even one that is locked and protected with a passcode, and Siri will provide an answer. Not only that, but, as Cluley demonstrated on a friend's iPhone, he was able to write an email and send a text message, all from the locked iPhone.




RE: Not good....
By Chaosforce on 10/20/2011 12:18:51 PM , Rating: 3
Always wanted a stenographer in my pocket.


RE: Not good....
By kleinma on 10/20/2011 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 5
and I thought you were just happy to see me.


RE: Not good....
By Mitch101 on 10/20/2011 12:45:04 PM , Rating: 4
On my Windows Phone 7 there is a checkbox "Use Speech when the phone is locked" They could add the same on iPhone 4s pretty easily. You still have to unlock the phone to get all the functionality.

Where I find it most useful is when my wife sends me a text I have my Windows Phone read is back to me then I can reply to her text using my voice. All while driving the car. I don't even need to see the phone just need to hold the windows icon which you just know where it is in the middle.

Its also great because you can tell your phone to open your applications so no need to even scroll or search through the list to get to your apps.

Im still experimenting like opening maps and the maps app opens now Im trying to see if I can give it navigation commands like a voice controlled GPS.

Voice control is really great. I could care less what others think if I talk to my phone. Eventually they will understand.


RE: Not good....
By bobsmith1492 on 10/20/2011 1:08:37 PM , Rating: 4
Hah, it is finally here! I predicted years ago that we'd be doing speech-to-text for a text message, then reading back with text-to-voice on the other end. It struck me as humorous at the time and still does!


RE: Not good....
By Mitch101 on 10/20/2011 1:48:30 PM , Rating: 3
And yet in a Galaxy Far Far away R2D2 can only beep. R2D2 needs a Windows 7.5 phone.


RE: Not good....
By Scrogneugneu on 10/20/2011 9:18:13 PM , Rating: 4
You should remember the first part : A long time ago.

Either the technology wasn't there yet, or R2 is simply cursing like there's no tomorrow.


RE: Not good....
By slunkius on 10/21/2011 2:17:32 AM , Rating: 2
in that universe there was no Steve Jobs to make an iPhone :)


RE: Not good....
By Owik2008 on 10/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not good....
By Paj on 10/21/2011 7:39:33 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but R2D2 isnt a protocol droid dammit! His job is to communicate with fighter systems. He doesnt need to talk.


RE: Not good....
By EricMartello on 10/20/2011 1:34:30 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
On my Windows Phone 7 there is a checkbox "Use Speech when the phone is locked" They could add the same on iPhone 4s pretty easily. You still have to unlock the phone to get all the functionality.


Checkboxes? Hah! Apple isn't one to jump on some unproven bandwagon like checkboxes. Sorry, you'll have to wait for iOS6 for that type of advanced functionality.


RE: Not good....
By augiem on 10/20/2011 3:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Apple lives by the idea that too many options will confuse users. Options are so scary!


RE: Not good....
By ekv on 10/20/2011 8:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you'll have to wait for iOS6 for that type of advanced functionality.
Don't forget the patents and IP lawsuits....


RE: Not good....
By rudy on 10/24/2011 1:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
This is the sad thing out where I am all these people think Apple invented this and it is not even possible on other phones. Why doesn't M$ or google get off their asses and advertise they already had these features. Really it's the main differnce between apple and everyone else apple advertises what they can do even if they were the last one to do it.

As for the crazy note, it is kinda true, I will use voice recognition on my android phone when I am alone to write things but not in public, It seems disruptive and rude to me.


RE: Not good....
By macrogeek on 10/20/2011 2:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
Siri can be disabled on locked phones. It's in with the passcode settings. (if you set up a lock on a new iPhone you see this option when you create the code)

If you had your passcode set up previously and want to lock Siri it's in
Settings - General - Passcode Lock, then flip the Siri toggle to Off "Do not allow access to Siri when locked w/ passcode"


By Boze on 10/20/2011 1:10:00 PM , Rating: 5
Have you guys never seen Iron Man? Never played Halo?

I can't wait for the day when I have a JARVIS or a Cortana on my telephone. I'm dying for the day when I can name my AI and talk to her and have her do things for me.

In fact, I expect the conversations to go something like this:

Eliza: Mr. Bozeman, your anniversary is in two weeks. This is the reminder you requested.
Me: Thank you Eliza. My friend Amanda's birthday is coming up, you have that logged right?
Eliza: Yes, I do. I'll remind you a few weeks in advance. Don't forget you and your sister are going to the symphony next month.
Me: I won't, but thanks for reminding me Eliza. By the way, send a text to Jenny in my lab that I when I leave for lunch today, I won't be back until 3 p.m.; I want her to keep a close eye on the students.

And then Eliza adds in reminders for those events that both she AND I discussed in Outlook on my home PC, my netbook, my phone, and my Kindle Fire (assuming it actually gets some kind of productivity suite). She then sends a text message to my lab assistant Jenny.

That's how the future should work. And Apple's Siri is a very rudimentary form of it. Voice commands on my Galaxy S II are also a nice start, but its a long way from what I want: to be able to speak naturally to my phone and computer as if they were a person, and have them respond and act accordingly.

Like most future technology, it only *seems* outlandish because we're so far away from it.




By EricMartello on 10/20/2011 1:39:12 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
to be able to speak naturally to my phone and computer as if they were a person, and have them respond and act accordingly.


LOL Despite having the latest and greatest phone, this guy obviously has nobody to talk to...so he wants his phone to talk to him in the future.

In reality your AI phone will probably get tired of listening to you and brick itself.


By wickernyc on 10/20/2011 3:34:34 PM , Rating: 4
This will lead our futre generation to be illiterate. No need to read or write anymore. Technology will do this for us.


By Boze on 10/21/2011 2:35:59 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, when did DailyTech become filled with so many idiots?

Reading some of these replies, its almost laughable and I wonder if I'm actually on a website.

I want to have a virtual assistant that can span across all my devices. I imagine there's a lot of small business owners, and even mid-sized business owners, not to mention thousands upon thousands of professionals who'd love to have the same thing.

In none of my examples did I list anything that was any different than talking to your secretary.

You must be either really old, or very young and naive.


By EricMartello on 10/21/2011 5:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
Look at this guy...if he's not talking to his phone he's talking to this website. /pat


By sigmatau on 10/21/2011 6:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
Things that look like a homeless, mentily ill person walking down the street yelling at an imaginary person:

1. Bluetooth
2. Siri


By p05esto on 10/22/2011 9:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In reality your AI phone will probably get tired of listening to you and brick itself.


That was funny sir, my eyes are watering from laughter. Thanks, needed that!!


By thisisaname on 10/20/2011 4:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
But you'll be very disappointed when you try to discuss philosophy with it, and it just replies "I don't know", or "I don't understand". I could imagine you being very frustrated when you scream at your phone "Don't you LOVE me????" only to get silence, or, "I don't understand".
There will never be a substitute for human interaction and/or love.


By Boze on 10/21/2011 2:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
Same response to you as to Eric above.

I shouldn't be surprised by your reply, you obviously have never worked in an office environment, or had a secretary; you'd realize for a lot of "executive assistants" that fairly everyday chatter right there.

Just switch out events and names and add some meeting reminders and that's about it.

How you managed to go from basic office chatter to discussions on philosophy, human interaction, and love is beyond me.


By EricMartello on 10/21/2011 5:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How you managed to go from basic office chatter to discussions on philosophy, human interaction, and love is beyond me.


Are you mad? Maybe you should have Eliza rough us up a little...


By sigmatau on 10/21/2011 6:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure what office you work at. Most people working in offices don't have administrative assistants. Probably 99% don't.

Do you smoke in your office?


By pugster on 10/21/2011 10:43:36 AM , Rating: 2
That's funny. Gees, if I have 20 appointments next month, would I like my 'Eliza' to talk to remind me of it every hour.

Siri's is nothing a lazy man's way of asking questions. Instead of asking "what is the weather for tomorrow?," siri's lazy man's way "I wonder if I need a jacket tomorrow?."

As much as people want to replace their personal assistants with Siri's, it just can't yet. It does not know what you want, what you think is important, or how is it going to remind you.


Bluetooth
By XSpeedracerX on 10/20/2011 12:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
People talking to themselves using their BT microphones already look crazy. It won't look so crazy watching someone talk to their in-hand phone if it talks back. So at least there's that.




RE: Bluetooth
By phatboye on 10/20/2011 12:28:03 PM , Rating: 5
anyone holding a product with a partially eaten Apple on it already look crazy


RE: Bluetooth
By retrospooty on 10/20/2011 12:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think they will look too crazy... For the most part people will put the phone somewhere near their face and talk into it. They may look more like cap. Kirk wannabe's than schizo's talking to themselves or voices in thier head.


RE: Bluetooth
By thisisaname on 10/20/2011 4:17:45 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah but once the technology is ubiquitious, nobody will look crazy.


RE: Bluetooth
By TSS on 10/21/2011 10:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the people that won't use the technology at that point will look crazy.

"hey what's up? i haven't seen you talking to your phone lately, you feeling ok?"


RE: Bluetooth
By Subzero0000 on 10/20/2011 9:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People talking to themselves using their BT microphones already look crazy.


yea, I always have to look again to see if he/she had a Bluetooth thing on the ear.
It's especially scary when they are arguing to the air.


Situational usage
By nafhan on 10/20/2011 12:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
So, if you're walking around in public talking TO your phone, you'll look like a crazy person, true. I just don't see a lot of people doing that. If you're, for instance, in your car, people aren't even going to know what you're doing.

Which brings me to: the primary usage for voice stuff is (IMO) for situations where the visual/touch interface isn't available (i.e. driving) or when it's not well suited to the task (i.e. entering large amounts of text).

That said... I do find Apple acting like Siri is a person to be slightly creepy.




RE: Situational usage
By retrospooty on 10/20/2011 12:58:51 PM , Rating: 1
"So, if you're walking around in public talking TO your phone, you'll look like a crazy person"

Plus the obvious pot and kettle. Not that Ballmer was the one who said it, but he is the CEO, and we all know how crazy he looks when he talks LOL.

I would bet anything that an average person watching Ballmer speak, and a Siri user speak will quickly come to the conclusion that the Siri user is just doing a voice command on his phone and Ballmer is off his nut.


RE: Situational usage
By 91TTZ on 10/20/2011 3:26:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why are you criticizing Ballmer when he's not the one who said it?


Was this posted here yet?
By Etern205 on 10/20/2011 6:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
Google Voice
By on1wl on 10/20/2011 6:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
How is this different or better than Google voice search? I've used Google Voice Search to "ask the oracle" about anything at all for well over a year. It rocks. When I ask my phone a question, and quickly get the answer, no one looks at me like I'm crazy. Sounds like Apple's voice search is a small step up, but it is not new. If Apple's version is better, then kudos to Apple.




Phones just for Communicating?
By pburghdoom on 10/21/2011 9:07:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
SVP Andy Rubin. He comments, "I don't believe that your phone should be an assistant. Our 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."


I am thinks it been quite some time since our phones were just for communicating.




OMG
By captainBOB on 10/20/2011 3:12:46 PM , Rating: 1
Google and Microsoft talking smack about a product that just 1upped their solutions? Say it ain't so!

I give them 6 months to a year to get to the same level of Siri, maybe surpass it, then phones everywhere will have pedantic personalities.




They would say that wouldn't they?
By Tony Swash on 10/20/11, Rating: -1
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/20/2011 3:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
And of course, if people are buying them for that reason as the main reason. Pure Sheeple. Amazing the shit people will buy because of some silly gimmick.


By retrospooty on 10/20/2011 9:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Siri will sell a lot of iPhones. A lot."

I dont think so... They will sell alot regardless of Siri. Most people that are gonna get the latest iphone are gonna get it regardless.


RE: They would say that wouldn't they?
By rudy on 10/24/2011 1:32:51 AM , Rating: 1
Because you did not realize it took apple this long to get a product that brought it up to speed with windows phone 7 voice recognition.


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