Apple is working to make Siri play nice with more third-party apps and services, according to a new report from The Information. Within a larger piece on the mobile search battleground and app integration, the tech site revealed that Apple is working on improving Siri’s search capabilities, and widening its capability set.
The report points out how the Siri of today can’t do things like book a car rental or make a hotel reservation, or use a messaging app other than Messages to send a text. The improvements to Siri would potentially enable those types of things, enabling third-party integrations that don’t require one-to-one business arrangement between Apple and the external company. Current integrations like those with OpenTable and Wolfram Alpha do involve those direct deals, which limits the pace at which new third-party powers can be added to Siri.
Apple’s Siri improvements in development also include tech that would allow it to intelligently select what to display on a device with constrained screen space, so that a running app might be brought to the fore when a user starts jogging, for instance. It sounds like on the whole, Apple is looking to put more intelligence behind Siri’s virtual smarts, to make it more of an actual assistant and less of an interesting add-on feature that primarily takes a back seat to other methods of user interaction.
Both Google and Apple are working on ways to make their respective digital assistants (Google Now for Mountain View) better able to determine the purpose of third-party apps and route requests to the appropriate destination. Google is said to be building a so-called ‘semantic index’ that would parse what each app can actually do, thus improving search suggestions, while also beefing up Google Now’s predictive powers.
All of the efforts above make it seem like the vision of a comprehensive, anticipatory operating system like the one found in ‘Her’ could be an end goal for all of the major tech heavyweights today. As for Apple, additional Siri integrations are definitely high on the wishlist of both users and devs, so it’ll be interesting to see if this is a tentpole of iOS 8, or if we have to wait a bit longer to see it come to fruition.