It’s disappointing to share your thoughts out loud, to attempt to say something significant, and then find out that nobody has been listening. But it’s most annoying when your own iPhone 4S — the one with your personal digital assistant — isn’t really listening and will only inform you of this after the fact. I […]
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When Siri Doesn’t Listen

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It’s disappointing to share your thoughts out loud, to attempt to say something significant, and then find out that nobody has been listening. But it’s most annoying when your own iPhone 4S — the one with your personal digital assistant — isn’t really listening and will only inform you of this after the fact.
I like Siri quite a lot for general dictation and alarm setting, but the way that it can sometimes turn a deaf ear is a real buzz kill. Take, for example, the simple act of dictating a text message to a friend:

Hey, Nikko, if you find me later with an exploded throat thanks to my insane coughing, you can have my PlayStation.

That’s just one sentence, but there are just too many times that Siri will record me, try to contact the remote servers for voice transcription, and then simply give up (or time out). All I get in the end is a blank text field and a set of gritted teeth because my smartphone has just fooled me into talking to myself. It’s just stupid when your clever voice dictation service is actually wasting your time, instead of saving it.
The very least Apple could do here is indicate, beforehand, the moments when Siri can’t listen properly due to server traffic. But an even better solution would probably be what SoundHound does: while in an area where there is no reception and servers can’t be reached, the app will simply store the recording locally and offer to submit your data again later. I’d much rather have a prompt asking me whether I’d like to try to re-send my data for dictation (similar to how unsent SMS are treated), instead of staring at a blank field and saying everything over again.
I’m really hoping that this is one of the Beta bugs that Apple intends to iron out in Siri, since the service relies so much on the trust that your vocal efforts — however minimal — will pay off. Until this problem gets fixed, I’m keeping my dictated texts nice and short (“should throat explode, you can have console”).

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