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Still in beta: Siri falls short when searching for Apple retail stores

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
A year after Siri first launched, Apple's personal assistant still falls short when accomplishing basic tasks that one might assume would be a priority for the company, such as finding a local Apple Store.

Siri


In tests conducted by AppleInsider around the U.S., queries for Siri to find the nearest Apple Store returned a number of nearby businesses with the word "apple" in their name. However, actual Apple retail stores did not appear among the top five location-driven results with Siri on iOS 6 in New York, California, and Florida.

For example, in Orlando, the top three results provided were "Apple Core Antiques," "Bad Apple Comics," and "AppleBlossom Florist." A real Apple Store was not provided until the eighth result, requiring the user user to scroll down in order to find it.

In San Francisco, the top results included "Fix My Phone SF," "Feng Apple," and "Apple Tree Day Care." Here again, the requested Apple Store did not appear until the eighth result, while in New York an Apple Store was the ninth item returned.

Siri


Another test conducted in Hawaii on the island of Oahu did return actual Apple Stores in its first two results. But they were followed by "Mountain Apple Company" and "Apple Puppy Dog Beauty Salon" before providing the third nearby Apple Store.

To be clear, Apple's retail stores do still show up in the search results, but the stores are found among a much longer list of irrelevant locations. This requires users to pore over the results themselves to find what they are actually looking for.

The local search results conducted through Siri appear to be driven largely by proximity to the user rather than accuracy. The "beta" personal assistant software will simply list all nearby businesses matching a provided name or description, even when searching for Apple's own stores.

Siri


The subpar results a year into public availability of Siri highlight Apple's struggles to produce a search algorithm that can compete with market leader Google. For example, similar searches on Google Maps return nothing but actual Apple Stores. Even a general Google Web search for "Apple Store" conducted on an iPhone presents Apple's nearest retail locations, shown among the results after a pair of paid advertisements and the top result of Apple's online store.

Bloomberg Businessweek revealed in a profile published on Wednesday that before he died, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs considered removing Google as the default search engine on iOS devices. However, it was ultimately decided that such a drastic move would only serve to upset customers. Though other options such as Microsoft's Bing have been added to iOS devices, Google remains the default search provider on the Safari Web browser on the iPhone and iPad.

Google


Siri will turn to Google if it cannot find the answer to a user's query. However, asking Siri for local businesses provides results from Apple that are accompanied by reviews from Yelp.

The poor results provided by Apple are not a result of Yelp, either: Searching for "Apple Store" on its website first lists all local Apple Stores, as well as some related results like Best Buy, which is home to an Apple mini-store.

Siri originally debuted in 2011 exclusively on the iPhone 4S. With the launch of iOS 6 last month, the voice-driven personal assistant was brought to the third-generation iPad. The newly released iPhone 5 also has built-in Siri integration, while the forthcoming fifth-generation iPod touch will also offer support for the service when connected to Wi-Fi. Apple's official website still advertises Siri as a "beta" product.
post #2 of 55
If you watched The Big Bang Theory S05E14, you'll know Siri is just one woman (a pretty one at that) in a small office handling all the queries. That poor woman don't have time to learn and filter all the data that fast.
post #3 of 55
This is not really a Siri issue.
post #4 of 55
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
The subpar results that continue a year into public availability of Siri highlight Apple's struggles to produce a search algorithm that can compete with market leader Google.

 

Hang on a tick… really? REALLY? 

 

And look at this nonsense here… can't, can't even… Just gotta laugh. Apple gets slammed for "false advertising" when it claims the iPhone is the best. Now Apple is getting slammed for not putting Apple Stores at the top when you look for "Apple Store". lol.gif

 

Yes, there's more weight behind the latter problem than the former, but I just find it funny.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Siri

*Looks at the last company on the left screenshot* Ha! I knew there was an Apple tax! Now there is a service for it too.

post #6 of 55
Dave: Hal um I mean Siri - Close the pod bay doors.
 
Siri: Sorry Dave I can't do that.  There is a frozen pea pod floating outside the ship.  Would you like to join it now.
 
Dave:  No!
 
Sir1:  OK, I'll eject you into interstellar space.
 
Dave:  Noooooooooooooo!
post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post

This is not really a Siri issue.

It certainly is a Siri issue for anyone trying to use Siri to find an Apple store......

post #8 of 55
I guess the author of this screed knows all about voice recognition and search algorithms and how a two year old could figure out how make it work flawlessly since this technology is child's play.

We who use technology and have no clue how it works are the problem. We have convinced ourselves that anything we can imagine can be perfected and brought market almost instantly.
post #9 of 55
How is Forstall still running iOS? SERIOUSLY! I would fire his a ss over the skeumorphic crap that's infesting iOS alone. Then add Siri and Maps fiasco to it.
post #10 of 55

This is a maps issue, not a problem with Siri. The same results are returned if you just type "Apple Store" in the maps search bar.

post #11 of 55
We should be able to use Siri to do things like set the volume to max or mute, dim or brighten the screen, switch from WiFi to cellular data and back. You should be able to do a lot more with a voice interface than you can with the graphical UI. You should even be able to construct rules like "when I leave my home, turn off WiFi and turn on Cellular 3G". Siri has so much potential. I hope it is not abandoned for some shiny new feature in next year's iPhone.
post #12 of 55
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post
How is Forstall still running iOS? SERIOUSLY! I would fire his a ss over the skeumorphic crap that's infesting iOS alone. Then add Siri and Maps fiasco to it.

 

Just shows you don't get it at all. 


Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
We who use technology and have no clue how it works are the problem. We have convinced ourselves that anything we can imagine can be perfected and brought market almost instantly.
 

I wish that common sense and intelligence didn't have to be injected into threads like this, rather that entitled whining or ignorant complaining be injected and swiftly dealt with by the group (read: human body disease defense analog).

 

Alas.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Hang on a tick… really? REALLY? 

 

And look at this nonsense here…

 

Yes, really.

 

Search for Apple Stores on Google - get Apple Stores only.

Search for Apple Stores on Siri - get a page of random places, then Apple Stores, then random places.

 

Google's algorithm zoned in better on what the tester wanted. Therefore, Google's algorithm is superior. I really don't know how you can debate this.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post

This is not really a Siri issue.
 

 

How is it 'not a Siri issue'? Siri is failing at one of its primary advertised functions - to find places.

post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

If you watched The Big Bang Theory S05E14, you'll know Siri is just one woman (a pretty one at that) in a small office handling all the queries. That poor woman don't have time to learn and filter all the data that fast.

 

Siri needs a hug...!

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #15 of 55

Are people starting to hate their cell phones again?

post #16 of 55
Here's the problem:
Tim Cook is not a product guy. He doesn't know how to have quality control over these things. Tim Cook is an operations guy. He knows how to keep items in stock.
post #17 of 55
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post
Here's the problem:
Tim Cook is not a product guy. He doesn't know how to have quality control over these things. Tim Cook is an operations guy. He knows how to keep items in stock.

 

"Don't talk about Tim Cook like you know anything at all about him," they say.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #18 of 55

The Apple store App seems to have no trouble providing a list of all the local Apple stores.

 

None within twenty miles.

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #19 of 55
Oh my, the authors on this site are starting to seem a bit pissed at Apple. I for one think that maps gate is blown way out of proportion, they have worked very well for me since the early betas.
post #20 of 55
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post
The Apple store App seems to have no trouble providing a list of all the local Apple stores.

 

None within twenty miles.

 

100 miles for me!

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #21 of 55

Certainly 'Where can I buy Apple computers?' or 'Where can I get an iPhone 5' work rather well for me.

post #22 of 55

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 1/22/13 at 7:05am
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by igxqrrl View Post

It certainly is a Siri issue for anyone trying to use Siri to find an Apple store......

If you noticed the results of the search quarry, it filters by distance. It is not going to place the Apple Store at the top of the list if it is not closest to you.

post #24 of 55
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post
Indeed!  What kind of a site would dare promote such drivel?! ;)

 

Gizmodo. :|

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #25 of 55
I asked my Galaxy S3 to "find Apple stores" and it returned results that only included the correct 3 local Apple stores. Just an FYI.
post #26 of 55

"Find me an iPhone 5"

 

Siri quickly processed this, opened the Apple Store App and brought me to the info page about iPhone 5. 

 

I myself have found Siri much improved with iOS6, from dictation and sending text messages while driving to simple processing of my requests. 

 

Maps however, a whole other store. 

 

My girlfriend's address in Astoria, NY. No where near her place, however, Google Maps had no problem finding the location before iOS6 and I was able to follow the little blue dot to get there. 

 

It will take time, I understand that. Being so imbedded in the ecosystem, which I'm sure most people are that read these sites. Things will improve and blow away any expectation.

 

Who else has seen Siri improve? I hate hearing/reading bull shit regarding Siri and how it is worthless. Someone tries it once, doesn't work perfectly then forget about it.

post #27 of 55
I general apple has a big handicap.. These people dont know how to do search algoritems.
Similier and shocking short coming is in apples spellcheck/ word recognition suggestion algoritem.

It is horrible.
I often have to resort to google search for fnding spelling or word suggestion pointers.
for example i will type a sentance in google search.. And if i have a bogus word there... It will respond with " did u mean such and such" and it is always the right suggestion.

In apple spell check or search in maps... The result is .. No suggetions or no listing.
Why and how apple is so weak in this are is mind boggeling!

Type acrylic box or acrylic shelf in apple maps..... No result
Type acrylic alone... U get a bunch of results....including boxes
Simply stupid... Why cant i narrow down the search .

Type acrilic in goog maps and it asks did u mean acrylic?
Apple wont suggest a corrcted word!

Why should they be behind in such a basic and fundimental area???
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

If you watched The Big Bang Theory S05E14, you'll know Siri is just one woman (a pretty one at that) in a small office handling all the queries. That poor woman don't have time to learn and filter all the data that fast.

Was that woman typing the query into Bing and returning the results? :-)


Edited by pt123 - 10/3/12 at 6:27pm
post #29 of 55
You are not using it right. You need to ask "Apple Retail Store". I just tried it and it worked great!

However, I agree that Apple should have covered "Apple Store" questions too.

Regards,
--NT
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post

This is not really a Siri issue.


No, because knows you weren't really looking for an Apple Store. That you were really looking for Apple Tax Service. Happens a lot.

post #31 of 55

I basically never use Siri on my iPhone except when my son wants to have fun playing with Siri. Basically got it wrong too often for my taste.

 

It's not a knock of Siri, it's probably relatively well done, but just not good enough for me personally. Plus, I can e.g. type on my calendar app faster than trying to get it right through Siri, so Siri is not even convenient enough for me.

post #32 of 55

This may be the matter of the right query. I asked mine to find the nearest exact match for apple store and it found Apple Inc on 1 Infinite Loop ;) Siri did say it was pretty far from me. I wonder if there is a specific query for finding an exact match. The search results make some sense in that they are sorted by distance by default.

 

I suspect it's a variation of what I asked for an exact match.

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post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yojimbo007 View Post

I general apple has a big handicap.. These people dont know how to do search algoritems.
Similier and shocking short coming is in apples spellcheck/ word recognition suggestion algoritem.
It is horrible.
I often have to resort to google search for fnding spelling or word suggestion pointers.
for example i will type a sentance in google search.. And if i have a bogus word there... It will respond with " did u mean such and such" and it is always the right suggestion.
In apple spell check or search in maps... The result is .. No suggetions or no listing.
Why and how apple is so weak in this are is mind boggeling!
Type acrylic box or acrylic shelf in apple maps..... No result
Type acrylic alone... U get a bunch of results....including boxes
Simply stupid... Why cant i narrow down the search .
Type acrilic in goog maps and it asks did u mean acrylic?
Apple wont suggest a corrcted word!
Why should they be behind in such a basic and fundimental area???

I dislike that Apple's spell check always wants to change "were" to "we're" on my iPhone.

post #34 of 55

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 1/23/13 at 6:04am
post #35 of 55

"Still in Beta:  Siri falls short"

 

Maybe they should change its name to Betty or Bette,

at least until its bettah?

post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Here's the problem:
Tim Cook is not a product guy...He knows how to keep items in stock.

Well, one way is to make products no one will buy...like several of his competitors.

(He hasn't tried that yet, and doesn't appear likely to.)

post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by pt123 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post

This is not really a Siri issue.


No, because knows you weren't really looking for an Apple Store. That you were really looking for Apple Tax Service. Happens a lot.

 

I'm still not seeing why this is a Siri problem. All Siri is doing is passing the query on to the maps app, which returns identical results even if you don't ask via Siri.

post #38 of 55

It's not Siri as much as the search engine as mentioned, but the results order is dictated by distance from your location.  So in this case if there a lot of buisnesses with Apple in their title closer to you than an Apple Store, they will display first.

 

I wish that you could sort results by closest match instead of distance.  Clearly they should tweak "Apple Store" as a dead match, really.

 

I will say that I am one of many who ditched Siri within a week of getting my 4S because she messed up way too often just trying to dial co-worker names.  I turned on Siri to play with maps on the iPhone5 and have not had an issue in this whole week of using it.  I don't know of any nav app that has as much promise as a Siri driven one.  I have been testing pure voice nav functions, say "navigate to PetSmart" and it reads out choices, you can tell it to skip, or "Go there" and it shifts gears into nav mode.  As Apple improves the maps, it will just get better. 

 

I wish I could go a step further and then say "Go there, using Garmin App" and have Siri launch and then hand off the coordinates to the nav app of your choice...

post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

If you watched The Big Bang Theory S05E14, you'll know Siri is just one woman (a pretty one at that) in a small office handling all the queries. That poor woman don't have time to learn and filter all the data that fast.

 

Love that episode...

 

Siri: "Would you like me to call you Rajh?"

 

Rajh: "I'd like you to call me sexy."

 

Siri:  "Okay.  From now on I will call you sexy."

 

Rajh: "Well alright!"

 

 

Siri: "Hi Sexi.  Would you like to make love to me?  Just let me know."

 

Rajh: "Cahh.  Cahh."

 

Siri: "I'm sorry.  I don't understand 'Cahh.  Cahh."

 

(Rajh wakes up from a dream): "Nooooooooooooo!"

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #40 of 55

I've actually been really impressed with the iPhone 5 accuracy using Siri. I skipped the 4S, but even in noisy rooms or a car, it unfailingly gets my query right. Have to agree with the above. This has nothing to do with Siri as it just passes the info to Maps and that sorts by distance. 

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