Siri, the digital personal assistant that’s been integrated into the new iPhone 4S from Apple, is generating substantial buzz. That’s because it’s so much more accurate than earlier iterations of voice command platforms. (Google’s digital personal assistant on the Android operating system has generated far less accolades by comparison.)
The question is, what will Siri do to change the traditional ways people interact with the Web? Because Siri is far more than just voice recognition. It’s what it does with the voice it recognizes that’s so interesting.
Siri can update your calendar, set reminders, play music, write e-mails and text – indeed, it’s a personal assistant in every sense of the word.
Users of the iPhone 4S are using Siri to send texts and e-mails. They’re tending to open fewer apps, since Siri is very effective in deciding which app, service or site will best handle the needed tasks.
In search, this means that Siri may supplant what users might have done previously: namely, open a browser window and search using Google or Bing. If a user is asking Siri to find the closest good-quality dry cleaning establishment, for example, the result may be based on more than the top spot on Google Places … it may also be based on customer ratings on Yelp or “likes” on Facebook.
That’s because Siri navigates a variety of application program interfaces, pulling not only your information, but also information provided by others.
The rise of social media platforms has already alerted us to the fact that simply having a highly relevant, well-optimized website is no longer enough. The “endorsement” of sites, the incidence of positive customer reviews and the degree of “engagement” with visitors are playing a bigger role now, thanks to Facebook, Google+1 and various rating sites.
But now, with Siri and digital personal assistants entering the scene in a major way, we may well see people migrating away from accessing search pages and simply using the friendly voice in their mobile device to send them where they want to go.
… It’s yet another example of the constant state of change that’s a fact of life in the world of digital marketing.