I was listening to “All About That Bass” radio on iTunes when this junk came on:
I told Siri, “Never play this song again.”
My digital assistant responded sassily:
Siri just dissed Nick Jonas!
This is an example of Siri working well — of what the majority of iPhone users who don’t use Siri are missing out on.
Apple’s digital assistant does some things well, and it works best as a means of operating the iPhone, particularly Apple apps, as well as a question-and-answer service and not — as Dave Smith points out — as an assistant who can remember and learn. But those things it does well? I’d turn to Siri every time rather than tapping out commands with my thumbs.
One thing Siri does well is play music. Rather than finicking with iTunes and choosing an album or playlist, you can use Siri to turn on a custom iTunes Radio station (which has ads unless you pay up for iTunes Match) or album or anything else.
All you need to say is “play music”; or “play ‘All About That Bass’ radio”; or “play classical radio”; or “play country music” (which accesses the country genre in your iTunes library); or many variants thereon — experiment or Google it to figure out the rest. Once iTunes Radio is playing, say “never play this song again” if a song is getting on your nerves; say “play more like this” if you’re feeling it.
Siri still doesn’t do a lot of things. When I asked it to create a radio station based on a song in my iTunes, it apologised and told me it couldn’t do that. Frequently, it misunderstands me.
In other words, we’re clearly in the early stages of voice interaction — indeed, it’s so buggy that some people think the whole platform is a mistake — and apparently Google and Microsoft beat Apple in a lot of areas here.
Regardless, it’s hard to see how voice interaction won’t be central to future tech development, particularly in mobile. Get used to talk to your devices and you might even enjoy it.
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