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I watched a video of the first public demonstration of the Siri Search Interface presented at the D: Conference. Siri is a search engine billed as a “virtual personal assistant” for the Apple iPhone or computer. “Not another search engine!” you might be thinking, but Siri is different in a smart way. 

Instead of passive information, users get actionable results. For example - searching for a movie currently in theaters will presented by Fandango (a Siri partner) with the ability to immediately buy tickets. Another example “Find direct flights from Chicago to San Jose” yields flight results. Siri’s results are based on partnerships via APIs. As Siri secures more of these partnerships, they’ll evolve into an extremely useful search perfectly designed for the mobile user. 

I’ve always felt that voice interaction was a missing piece of the mobile device puzzle so I was thrilled to see that a portion of the demonstration including searching via the users voice. I predict that faster devices and better speech recognition will lead to two way voice interaction – a user will be able to search hands-free while multitasking or driving and have the results read instead of just displayed. Interacting with the results would be another huge step forward. Imagine searching for a plumber and be able to filter your search based on voice. Via your voice an intelligent search agent could select the top 3 plumbers, call them for you, and ask them to call you with their availability at a specific time.

I’m a big fan of voice interaction and how it can be inserted into existing technologies, gadgets and devices. I’ll be posting more about this feature and my thoughts on how it will impact the future of the mobile industry. As a matter of fact, this post was dictated with MacSpeech Dictate (and edited afterwards).

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