Apple is rumored to be readying a Siri SDK this summer. However, beyond opening up Siri to developers, Apple may be looking into improving Siri’s vocal recognition and ability to hold a conversation.
Last year, Apple purchased British intelligent assistant developer VocalIQ, a service that aims to create conversations. Business Insider was able to grab some information regarding the service to see how it stacks up with its competitors.
For example, imagine asking a computer to “Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and WiFi that’s kid-friendly.” That’d trip up most assistants, but VocalIQ could handle it. The result? VocalIQ’s success rate was over 90%, while Google Now, Siri, and Cortana were only successful about 20% of the time.
While some virtual assistants are able to function similarly, those assistants are “session based”, meaning if you asked ‘Who designed Waterloo Bridge?’ followed by ‘What else did he design?’, it’ll remember that. However, if you asked a totally new question, the previous ones are disregarded and forgotten.
VocalIQ, however, will remember sessions permanently.
Let’s go back to the Chinese restaurant example. What if you change your mind an hour later? Simply saying something like “Find me a Mexican restaurant instead,” will bring you new results, while still taking into account the other parameters like parking and WiFi you mentioned before. Hound, Siri, and any other assistant would make you start the search session over again. But Vocal IQ remembers. That’s more human-like than anything available today.
Another, less obvious reason Apple may have acquired VocalIQ is to improve Siri in the car.