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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 54
    This is not really a Siri issue.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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". image


     


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

  • Reply 4 of 54
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member

    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.

  • Reply 5 of 54

    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!
  • Reply 6 of 54
    igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member

    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......

  • Reply 7 of 54
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,101member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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.

  • Reply 12 of 54

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 54

    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...!

  • Reply 14 of 54
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,462member


    Are people starting to hate their cell phones again?

  • Reply 15 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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.

  • Reply 17 of 54
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,991member


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


     


    None within twenty miles.

  • Reply 18 of 54
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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!

  • Reply 20 of 54


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

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