Siri Fail

What percentage of attempts at doing a thing must be failures until that thing is deemed unreliable by a user and abandoned for another more effective method? I don't know the answer, but whatever it is, Siri has passed it.

Siri's great when it works, it just so seldom does. The most common thing I want to do with Siri is make calls to restaurants to order food. But restaurants, particularly ones in this town, tend to have odd names. Siri doesn't work well with odd names and it usually fails when I try to use it to call, say, Kouzan. It also fails if I try to call Café Viva by reversing the words of the name and saying, "Call Viva Café." But this sort of intelligence — the ability to parse natural language, even mistakes to some extent — is just what Siri's billed as being great at.

I've pretty much given up calling restaurants with Siri. And since I don't really make many other calls, Siri phone functionality is mostly useless to me. So what else can Siri do?

Well, Siri's great at dictation. I mean really great. So this morning I attempted to jot down an idea for a blog post using the dictation feature. After finishing the input the note was empty. Completely blank. Siri just completely gave up the ghost. Turns out there was a network related problem, and Siri famously fails when it has any problem connecting to Apple's network. Let's be clear: I had connectivity three ways to Sunday; the problem was Apple-side. I think it might be good for Siri to do some network checking before taking requests, because, though it can save you quite a bit of time when it works, when it doesn't, it's a huge time waster. And that just adds to my steadily increasing level of gunshy-ness.

So far Siri's pretty good about setting reminders. Hasn't failed me there yet; I'll keep trying to use it. But I'm pretty close to giving up. I don't know. Maybe the giving-up threshold is simply determined by a loose calculation of how much time you've wasted on a new technology. Maybe once your brain realizes that this thing that's supposed to be saving you time is instead stealing it away, maybe that's when you stop playing guinea pig and get back to work.

Whatever the case, Siri has proven, over the longer haul, to be not particularly useful in real world use cases, at least not yet.

Don't believe the hype. Or at least not all of it.