While voice control has been part of Android since the dawn of time, Siri came along and ruined the fun with its superior search and understanding capabilities. However, an industrious team of folks from Dexetra.com, led by Narayan Babu, built a Siri-alike in just 8 hours during a hackathon.
Iris allows you to search on various subjects including conversions, art, literature, history, and biology. You can ask it “What is a fish?” and it will reply with a paragraph from Wikipedia focusing on our finned friends.
The app will soon be available soon from the Android Marketplace but I tried it recently and found it a bit sparse but quite cool. It uses Android’s speech-to-text functions to understand basic questions and Narayan and his buddies are improving the app all the time.
The coolest thing? The finished the app in eight hours.
When we started seeing results, everyone got excited and started a high speed coding race. In no time, we added Voice input, Text-to-speech, also a lot of hueristic humor into Iris. Not until late evening we decided on the name “iris.”, which would be Siri in reverse. And we also reverse engineered a crazy expansion – Intelligent Rival Imitator of Siri. We were still in the fun mode, but when we started using it the results were actually good, really good.
You can grab the early, early beta APK here but I recommend waiting for the official version to arrive this week. It just goes to show you that amazing things can pop up everywhere.