Category: Siri

Siri Tip: Say “Google” First for the Quickest Way to Launch a Web Search on the iPhone & iPad

Siri icon

For the fastest way to search for something on the web, simply speak the word Google first to Siri, followed by whatever you want to search for. This method is, by far, the fastest way to do a web search in iOS. And, it can improve your overall experience with Siri.

Here’s an example: if you ask Siri, “Ten best Hawaii beaches,” Siri will bizarrely respond with a weather forecast. Begin that same question with Google and the browser will quickly and automatically launch and point to several great articles listing the ten best beaches in Hawaii. By starting off with Google, I avoid having to repeat myself or navigating to the browser app.

Another reason to say “Google” first is that Google is also great at correcting mistranslated words or phrases and figuring out what you’re really looking for. Compare this to Siri, which often takes correctly translated words and delivers incorrect info. Don’t get me wrong, Siri is great for creating reminders, text messages, alarms, & timers, and a handful of other things, but Siri is not so great at answering most questions.

Also note you can say Bing or Yahoo to automatically launch searches in those engines as well.

6 Cars That Are Getting Siri Eyes Free Integration in 2013

Apple first announced Siri Eyes Free for cars in June 2012, but its appearance in actual cars has been glacially slow (it’s still not available as of this writing except for a few lucky beta testers). Below is a list of cars Siris Eyes Free will supposedly make a 2013 appearance in (via software updates).

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Siri Eyes Free is a special version of Siri designed for use in cars, but it requires carmakers to update their infotainment systems to be compatible with it. It should be noted that regular old Siri (the non-Eyes Free version) does work over bluetooth in cars, but Eyes Free offers a few benefits, which I’ll get to in a sec. There are several cars destined to receive Siri Eyes starting in late spring of 2013, but it isn’t likely until 2014 when Eyes Free will be available widely.

So what’s the benefit of Siri Eyes Free over using activating regular Siri with your current car’s bluetooth system? Well, first off, it will just work better—currently, Siri + bluetooth in cars is not a great experience. Probably the biggest benefit performance wise is that Eyes Free will take into account a car’s background noise (engine and wind noise) when listening for commands, thus you’ll be understood by Siri better in noisy situations.

Another benefit of Eyes Free is it will be safer to use than non-Eyes Free Siri while you’re driving, as it won’t prompt you to look at your iPhone’s screen (for example, she won’t say “Here are your results” and display info on the screen). The side effect of this safety feature is that its removes some of Siri’s functionality, such as Siri doing web searches for you or looking up data via Wolfram Alpha.

Another differentiating aspect of Eyes Free is that car makers can determine a specific type of button press to activate Eyes Free to keep it separate from their own voice command systems. For example, Chevy will require you to hold the button for 2 seconds to activate Siri Eyes Free.

iPhone & iPad Tip: Why You Shouldn’t Change Siri’s Speaking Voice in the Settings

Siri icon

One fun thing you can do with Siri’s voice is change her accent and even gender in the settings. You can do this by going into Settings –> General –> Siri –> Language, and choose from over a dozen new accents, even giving her a male British voice. It’s fun, but here’s the thing, you should always change Siri back to your native language…“native” meaning, if you’re American, set it to English (United States), not English (United Kingdom).

Why? Because Siri’s ability to understand you will diminish greatly if she’s set to anything but your native language. Siri is designed to understand a specific accent that is designated in your iPhone’s settings. So if she’s expecting to hear a British accent but you’re a speaking with an American accent, she will be confused and translate your words into crazy things. While it’s funny, it’s not very useful.

10 Tips for Better Voice Dictation on the iPhone With Siri (VIDEO)

One of the more powerful features of Siri on the iPhone is voice dictation—the ability to turn your speech into text. While the basics of voice dictation are easy enough, just speak and let Siri take care of the rest, there is, unfortunately, a learning curve to improve the accuracy. For example, you’ll need to say “cap” before words that aren’t typically capitalized, like bacon, to capitalize them (“Bacon”).

But what if you want to dictate the title of a movie, like Gone With the Wind, and have each of the word’s capitalized? You tell Siri “caps on” before saying gone with the wind, which will turn into Gone With the Wind (Siri even knows not to capitalize the word “the” as per title capitalization style). The video above contains 10 advanced tips for Sir’s voice dictation from Snazzy Labs.

Tip: List of Siri Voice-Dictation Commands

Developer Crush Apps has posted a useful list of commands for Siri’s voice-dictation capabilities that should help users solve tricky punctuation problems like how to add ellipses “…” (you can saying “dot dot dot” or “ellipsis”) and how to combine two words into one (you say “no space on,” then the words you want to combine together, then “no space off,” which creates a word like crazycool).

Check out the entire list over on Crush Apps’ blog. A must read if you’re planning on having Siri do a lot of typing for you.

Stuff.TV, CNET, and Others Demo Siri on the iPhone 4S (Updated)

It looks like got their hands on an iPhone 4S a little early and ran Siri through some tests. The video doesn’t show much of anything new, but it does reveal that Siri’s British computer voice sounds much better than the American English one. I’ll be switching over to British English in the Settings menu for sure.

*Update* MacRumors says the video above was recorded at Apple’s event last week. The site points out that even though the reviewer is tapping the microphone button to end speech recognition, it’s not necessary, as Siri will recognize the end pause. The site also linked to the video below, which shows off Siri and a few other iOS features.

CNET also has a video demoing Siri. Nothing much new here either except that it appears to show that iOS 5 can notify you with an alert when your are leaving a location.

And here’s an epic look at Siri by Jason Snell at MacWorld: