Why Siri sucks

Siri has been around for almost 7 years, but it still kind of sucks. Personal assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are constantly improving. Here’s what’s wrong with Siri and some simple things Apple can do to make it a lot better. Following is a transcript of the video.

Steve Kovach: Hey Siri, what time is Westworld on?

Siri: Here are matches for Westworld. Westworld, Westworld, Beyond Westworld, Westworld on a Budget.

Steve Kovach: Siri has been around for almost seven years, but it still kinda sucks. Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa keep getting updated with cool new features, but Siri feels outdated and stuck in 2013. Here’s what went wrong with Siri and what Apple can do to fix some of the problems right now.

Siri felt revolutionary when it first came out in 2011 on the iPhone 4S. While it wasn’t the first digital assistant ever created, it felt almost magical to be able to talk to your iPhone and have it respond. But the magic didn’t last very long. Within a year, Google had a similar answer called Google Now. Google Now tapped into Google’s vast knowledge of the internet to get you exactly what you asked for. You could ask things like, “How old is Tom Cruise,” or, “show me cute pictures of corgi puppies,” and you’d get exactly that. Siri started to look pretty dumb by comparison and it never caught up. Now we have three major digital assistants fighting for your attention. There’s Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa. And Apple could actually look to those rivals for inspiration to fix Siri now.

The biggest problem with Siri today is that it doesn’t integrate with third-party services very well. There are a few categories it does work with, like messaging or ride-hailing, but for the most part it’s a closed-off ecosystem. This turns out to be Alexa’s greatest strength. There are thousands of third-party skills and apps that work with Alexa, meaning it’s a wide-open ecosystem where anything’s possible. You can check your bank balance, you can order a coffee from Starbucks and have it waiting for you when you arrive, and it works with a lot more smart home appliances than Siri does. And it’s the same story with Google’s Assistant. Think of it like this. How terrible would your iPhone be if you couldn’t download any third-party apps from the App Store? That’s the state we’re in with Siri today.

Another huge problem with Siri is that there’s so many fragmented versions of the service. Siri on the HomePod is mostly just to ask for songs from Apple Music. It can’t even do basic stuff like checking your calendar appointments. Siri on the iPhone is different than Siri on the Mac, and that’s different than Siri on the Apple TV and the Apple Watch. Apple has failed to give you one consistent version of Siri, no matter which Apple device you’re using. If a digital assistant’s going to be successful, it needs to be the same, no matter where you are, in the home, in the car, in the office, and no matter what gadget you’re using. This is another area Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant excel. Today, Siri is a fragmented mess when it should be the same everywhere. Apple should unify it so there’s one version across all of its devices.

The final major problem with Siri is updates. While Google Assistant and Alexa constantly get better over time, Siri only gets significant updates once a year with new versions of iOS on the iPhone. Apple should really start looking at Amazon and Google’s strategy here and update Siri throughout the year as soon as the updates are ready. The bottom line: Siri has a long road ahead of it, and Amazon and Google aren’t going to quit. But there are a lotta simple things Apple could do right now that would make the experience a whole lot better. It’s not too late, but Apple needs to act fast.

Siri: Here are shows available on iTunes. Vanderpump Rules, The Last Ship, Turn, Washing–

Steve Kovach: Shut up.

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