by Tony Rushin
Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve had Siri envy. I have an iPhone 4 and like it. However, I also see the productivity that David, my boss, and Luann, my wife, get out of having Siri on their iPhone 4S. Six weeks ago, as I was preparing for a mobile device lunch & learn, I found two free iPhone applications from Nuance Communications that lead me to say: “who needs Siri anyway!”
Just launch the app, tell it something and it will take you to the website that best fits the context of your request – while offering several other options as well. In fact, the scroll bar at the top with multiple website sources is one of the great features I’ve found with this app. For instance, when I say “Chipper Jones” it takes me to the ESPN website:
If I want to see a Chipper YouTube video I simply scroll the icons across the top until I get to YouTube. Alternatively, if I knew at the beginning that I wanted YouTube I could have said: “Chipper Jones on YouTube”.
This app is very helpful when you have the Location Services enabled on your phone and you’re looking for something specific to do nearby. In fact, if you want to find something close to you add the phrase “near me”. Here’s what comes up when I’m at my office and say “sushi near me”:
I’m still getting used to this app but I’m finding it to be very useful and powerful (and most Siri-like). The best introduction is this 1-minute YouTube video from Michael Thompson, SVP of the Nuance Mobile division. After you play with the app for a few minutes, refer to this blog for a short-list of advanced hints like saying the punctuation (comma, period, question mark), caps on / caps off, etc.
Here’s the bottom line: you can quickly and easily convert your voice into text, edit the text in several ways, and then easily send via email or text (or send it to your clipboard where you can paste it into a Word document, LinkedIn, etc.) In my experience the conversion to text right from the start was quite accurate: 85+%. In addition, the app “learns” your voice over time and becomes even more accurate (a good reason not to let your kids play with this app!)
You’ll enjoy the productivity these apps provide to you. They aren’t quite Siri but they’re close enough for me to get rid of my Siri envy!