iris. is a Siri-alike Android application created by Indian company Dexetra. According to the company’s blog the original version of iris. was coded in just 8 hours. I can easily believe in this, since iris. is in fact more of a toy and not a personal assistant at all.
So, what can iris. do? It can call someone from your contact list, send him/her a message or simply open contact entry for viewing or editing. Here is how it looks:
Me: Call John Doe
iris.: Shall I call John Doe?
iris.: Calling John Doe
– – –
Me: Send message to John Doe
iris.: What do you want to send?
Me: blah blah blah
iris.: Do you want me to read the message
iris.: [reading] Shell I send the message?
iris. Message sent
– – –
Me: Lookup John Doe
iris.: Opening John Doe’s contact
Nice try, but nothing really new. To be true personal assistant iris. should be able to answer questions. Apple says that users can talk to Siri as they would to a person. I decided to test example questions from Apple’s website with iris. and I had a feeling like my personal assistant is a person with severe mental retardation.
Me: Do I need an umbrella?
iris.: Not that I know of.
Me: Where is the closest ATM?
iris.: The closest atm? Where is it?
Me: Any great burgers around here?
iris.: No I don’t think there are any.
Speech recognition technology (iris. uses Google’s Voice Search) works fine most of the time, but it isn’t flawless. In some cases it has problems with recognizing your speech. The search itself may take up several seconds, especially in cases when the answer isn’t obvious. However for easy queries (like ‘what is android’) it works fast enough, giving you first paragraph of a Wikipedia article on Android. But do not try to ask iris. about something serious, since it doesn’t even know about itself. When I’ve asked ‘what is iris’ the answer was about immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. Oh, and it doesn’t know the answer to life the universe and everything! ‘No one has all the answers’, was the application’s reply. Luckily, at least Google does know the answer.
iris. is a fun thing to play with for 15 minutes, but at this time it is completely unreliable as a personal assistant.
Alternatives to iris.
Google Voice Actions – Control your Android phone just by speaking using Voice Actions.
Speaktoit Assistant – a virtual buddy for your Android device that uses natural language technology to answer questions, find information, launch apps and connect you with various web services, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and many others.
Vlingo – your very own Virtual Assistant. Simply speak to Vlingo and it will help you get more done, faster and easier than before. Try saying “Text John; What’s up?” or “find italian restaurants” or even “update Facebook; Vlingo rocks!” Download to learn everything Vlingo can do for you.
Edwin, Speech-to-Speech – Edwin is a speech-to-speech voice assistant & utility. Ask it the weather, make calls, SMS, tweet and tons more.