A wiser Siri snubs Google for Bing in Apple's upcoming iOS 7

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
With iOS 7, Apple has not only made its Siri virtual assistant smarter, but has managed to further distance itself from Android maker Google by turning to Microsoft's Bing as the service's default search engine.

Siri
Apple's Eddy Cue presenting Siri at WWDC 2013. | Source: Apple


When Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue took the stage at WWDC on Monday, he spared no time getting into the enhancements iOS 7 will bring to Siri, including deeper device integration, a wider range of source and, notably, a reliance on Microsoft's Bing. As seen in the screenshots below, as provided by AppleInsider reader Gregg Mojica, Siri's UI and overall feature set will see a huge change when the service is released this fall.

Siri
Siri with Bing search (right).


A number of Internet services are set to be integrated alongside existing Siri capabilities, including Twitter, Wikipedia and, perhaps most importantly, Bing Web search. Over Siri's lifetime, the service relied only on Google for Internet searches, but in iOS 7, the assistant will pull from Microsoft's servers as default.

The move is the latest snub from Apple, which previously deprecated Google Maps and YouTube from its built-in iOS app selection, replacing only the mapping app with in-house solution. A report from December revealed Apple was already cutting down on its reliance of Google with iOS 6, and it appears the company will continue that trend with iOS 7.

Another feature noted at Apple's event was the substantial changes made to Siri's voice capabilities. When the voice-recognizing assistant first launched in iOS 5, it sounded fairly advanced for the time. However, as the years wore on, Siri's stilted speech and odd inflections didn't change. Google subsequently launched its own mobile virtual assistant, which not only appeared to operate more efficiently, but had a voice that was closer to human.

In iOS 7, Siri's voice has been updated, and if Monday's demonstration is any indication, very closely mimics true speech. Apple has also added a male voice option which sounds equally impressive. Cue said the new Siri will rollout with support for English, French, and German, while other languages will move to the updated voice capabilities in the future.

Siri


Apple has also allowed Siri to access higher functions on certain devices, for example the control of Bluetooth radios and screen brightness. Contextual queries have been improved, with new commands like "Play my last voicemail" added to current offerings.

Finally, Cue showed off iOS in the Car, which is heavily reliant on Siri's services. Dictating messages, playing back music, dialing phone numbers and more are accomplished through the service, which Apple dubbed Eyes Free. The hasn't seen wide adoption yet, though the executive noted some 95 percent of cars have some type of support for music playback and control from an iOS device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    I noticed that. I liked it.


     


    I also noticed that Craig outright said "Google search" in another part of the keynote. Immediately I wished he had said "search engine" and had had Yahoo! or Bing as the preset for the demo. 


     


    Never mind the true embarrassment of having to use Chrome in the Windows demo. Why no Safari 6 for Windows? Why no Safari 7 for Windows?!

  • Reply 2 of 66
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    AI needs a genuine persona to really take off. i don't walk to talk to Siri.

    i want to talk with Hal.

    Apple should license the rights (wonder who owns them).
  • Reply 3 of 66
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,792member
    "Over Siri's lifetime, the service relied only on Google for Internet searches"

    Hmmm... That's not true. Siri just dumped the request to the web browser which used whatever your default search engine was.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    I wish tSIRI's voice had more options... I kinda like the old SIRI voice but I really wish SIRI could sound like Homer Simpson (Yogi Bear as second choice). Too human sounding is creepy!
  • Reply 5 of 66
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

    i want to talk with Hal.



    Apple should license the rights (wonder who owns them).


     


    His voice actor's still alive (though probably not in a condition to give up the accurate set of phonemes necessary)…

  • Reply 6 of 66
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Apple really needs to start owning more data. Google, Navteq, Tom Tom, and Waze are the only companies with worldwide mapping data. Apple should be added to the list. I noticed tht the biggest weakness of Maps was not addressed. Namely, Apple's reliance on Yelp for POI data. Yelp is weak for non restaurant data, and it is slow to update. You normally get a response from Google within a day or two.
  • Reply 7 of 66
    jman225jman225 Posts: 18member

    Never mind the true embarrassment of having to use Chrome in the Windows demo. Why no Safari 6 for Windows? Why no Safari 7 for Windows?!

    To demonstrate that iWork on iCloud can function on a different OS and a different web browser.
  • Reply 8 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post



    "Over Siri's lifetime, the service relied only on Google for Internet searches"



    Hmmm... That's not true. Siri just dumped the request to the web browser which used whatever your default search engine was.


     


    So are you saying the default search engine is now Bing?

  • Reply 9 of 66


    Click-bait headline uses the word "snub." Oh AI, you're so transparent.


     


    If true, I'm certain Apple worked out an agreement with Microsoft over the default search engine. And nothing like that happens without money changing hands.

  • Reply 10 of 66
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    Anything that screws over Google is fine by me, but I don't get why everyone is saying these voices for Siri are "more realistic."  They sound different, but just as fake to me.  


    She sounds kind of squeaky actually.  From what I've heard so far I prefer the original. 

  • Reply 11 of 66
    Why does Eddie remind me of Parker from Thunderbirds?

    Anyway, will Siri a) work on iPhone 4 b) work in New Zealand? Both of those would be great.

    I was trying out Dictation when it came to Mountain Lion and set it to British English because that's the dictionary I use (of course I don't speak with a British accent). I couldn't get it to type "bad", instead it typed "bed". I asked a colleague who does have a British accent how to do it and it goes something like this:

    bad = bed
    baad = bad

    I'd hate to see what I get when I want "bard".
  • Reply 12 of 66
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jman225 View Post





    To demonstrate that iWork on iCloud can function on a different OS and a different web browser.


     


    I'm just loving how Firefox and Mozilla are being squeezed out of iWork in the cloud also.  image


     


    They sowed the seeds of "difference" and are now reaping the rewards of "incompatible."


    Almost makes you believe in Karma. 

  • Reply 13 of 66
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Darryn Lowe View Post



    Why does Eddie remind me of Parker from Thunderbirds?



    Anyway, will Siri a) work on iPhone 4 b) work in New Zealand? Both of those would be great.



    I was trying out Dictation when it came to Mountain Lion and set it to British English because that's the dictionary I use (of course I don't speak with a British accent). I couldn't get it to type "bad", instead it typed "bed". I asked a colleague who does have a British accent how to do it and it goes something like this:



    bad = bed

    baad = bad



    I'd hate to see what I get when I want "bard".


     


    I haven't tried it for a while, but Siri dictation failed utterly for me also.  It could not get a single sentence or sometimes even words from the sentence right, during literally dozens of tries in a quiet, empty room with me speaking normally and carefully.  When I escalated this through Apple's help system, it turned out that Siri fails to function most of the time for English dictation whenever your localisation settings are not plain old "American."  


     


    This was last year, so maybe it's been fixed, but in my case it was because I had my settings set to "English" but *wasn't* speaking in an English accent (I don't have any appreciable accent).  Apparently if you set the date, time and spelling preferences to "English" instead of American, it assumes you are about to speak in an upper class toff accent and won't recognise "regular" speech.  


     


    If this is true (and the helper assured me it was the cause), then I imagine it also has a hugely difficult time distinguishing between the many local English variant accents.  


    It probably only works if you're from Sussex. 


     


  • Reply 14 of 66
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 384member

    Anyway, will Siri a) work on iPhone 4 b) work in New Zealand? Both of those would be great.

    I think you'd get much better results setting Siri's language to "English (Australia)"

    ---Dictated with Siri.
  • Reply 15 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Finally, Cue showed off iOS in the Car, which is heavily reliant on Siri's services. Dictating messages, playing back music, dialing phone numbers and more are accomplished through the service, which Apple dubbed Eyes Free. The hasn't seen wide adoption yet, though the executive noted some 95 percent of cars have some type of support for music playback and control from an iOS device.


     


    I don't think they showed ALL the brands of cars that will be supported. (Showed like 16 or so)


     


    I also noted Lexus wasn't among those shown... what the hay!!!?

  • Reply 16 of 66
    I noticed that. I liked it.

    I also noticed that Craig outright said "Google search" in another part of the keynote. Immediately I wished he had said "search engine" and had had Yahoo! or Bing as the preset for the demo. 

    Never mind the true embarrassment of having to use Chrome in the Windows demo. Why no Safari 6 for Windows? Why no Safari 7 for Windows?!
    Yes They did that to show that apple haters who are forced to use it can... It is also a joke that it was an apple laptop running it with the smoothness of a Mac, lack of Mac OS X but still the best for windows running (even if the slight lag was a joke)

    I rather it be Siri uses your preset for safari search in settings...
  • Reply 17 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I haven't tried it for a while, but Siri dictation failed utterly for me also.  It could not get a single sentence or sometimes even words from the sentence right, during literally dozens of tries in a quiet, empty room with me speaking normally and carefully.  When I escalated this through Apple's help system, it turned out that Siri fails to function most of the time for English dictation whenever your localisation settings are not plain old "American."  


     


    This was last year, so maybe it's been fixed, but in my case it was because I had my settings set to "English" but *wasn't* speaking in an English accent (I don't have any appreciable accent).  Apparently if you set the date, time and spelling preferences to "English" instead of American, it assumes you are about to speak in an upper class toff accent and won't recognise "regular" speech.  



    Toss back a few beers and give  her another go, she can't understand Aussie if ya not pissed.

  • Reply 18 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


     


    So are you saying the default search engine is now Bing?



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Click-bait headline uses the word "snub." Oh AI, you're so transparent.


     


    If true, I'm certain Apple worked out an agreement with Microsoft over the default search engine. And nothing like that happens without money changing hands.



     


    I'm thinking Apple will soon buy Yahoo, which is the search engine "Bing" uses and this is just a half-step on the way there.

  • Reply 19 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Anything that screws over Google is fine by me, but I don't get why everyone is saying these voices for Siri are "more realistic."  They sound different, but just as fake to me.  


    She sounds kind of squeaky actually.  From what I've heard so far I prefer the original. 



     


    The new chick voice is based on Barbara Eden (as in Genie). She'll also call you "master" and you don't even have to treat her nice.

  • Reply 20 of 66

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    Anything that screws over Google is fine by me, but I don't get why everyone is saying these voices for Siri are "more realistic."  They sound different, but just as fake to me.  


    She sounds kind of squeaky actually.  From what I've heard so far I prefer the original. 



    Just when I want to thumbs up your post you get all negative nancy again ;)


     


    But to me the voice did sound a bit more natural, and I think I remember Apple coming out with several patents relating to inflection and prosody in speech. The fact that the "new voices" are only available in select languages leads me to believe there is an actual improvement.


     


    Screw google. Those classless tools. What I want to see is an Apple competitor to youtube, I hate youtube, but there is no real widely used viable alternative. Apple could do it so much better. And as an accessory to the hardware, they could focus on the users, and offer optional ad support with the ad revenues going to the producers of the content, whether it be record labels or individuals with cool content, such as this guy talking about the Tarsier:


     


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