1. Setting location-based alerts using Find My Friends. Saying "tell me when my wife leaves work" is effective, convenient, and about twenty times faster than setting up the alert by hand.
2. Again with Find My Friends, finding out where people are. If I'm meeting somebody I can just ask, "Where's Bob?" and it shows me, so I know if they're running late or whatever.
3. Setting reminders, especially location-based reminders. As I'm walking along, I suddenly remember that I need to fix the windshield wipers on my car or something. "Remind me to fix the windshield wipers when I get home", and done. Again, way faster than setting this up by hand.
4. Quick text messages while on the go. It can both read an incoming message and write a reply. Faster than typing a reply, usually.
5. Setting timers and alarms. Put a pizza in the oven, then "timer, 15 minutes", and I get an alert when it's done.
I don't think the article is wrong, but it's a bit narrow. It concentrates entirely on search, and I agree that Siri is pretty weak with that. But Siri is good at doing stuff, at least certain stuff, on your behalf. Google's voice search can't do this on iOS at all, and my understanding is that even on Android its capabilities are much more limited.
Siri is probably over-hyped by Apple, but i personally still find it to be quite useful. It's not the all-powerful personal answer-machine that some people want it to be, but it's a handy alternate UI for many of the phone's functions.
That's not true - in fact, Android has had functionality far beyond Siri's for ages - since FroYo at least if not Eclair or Donut - long before Siri came out. Even Engadget (of all sites!) did a comparison of the two and declared that Android's voice functionality was better.
On top of that, the new (ICS or JB) updates are really fantastic, particularly when you pair them with Google Now.
Is there a place with a more complete listing of what it can do?
I once sat down for a few hours and asked it tons of random questions and got a good feel for what it can and cannot answer/do. After that, it became a lot more useful to me. But most people don't seem to do that.
(Though it looks like this list was missing Find Friends related options.)
I personally find it to be incredibly useful for meeting friends and such. Of course, if you don't like it, you don't have to use it.
I find it (or rather, Google Latitude) AWESOME. One, it's awesome for rendezvouses. Both the planned kind (I arrive first, she's not here yet, where is she, maybe I could walk a block and meet her first) and the unplanned kind (sometimes I find out my wife is downtown when I didn't expect her to be... hi honey!).
Two, I'm still tracking friends back home even though I don't live near them any more. It emphasizes the community in the world. It'd be better if more people used Latitude, though.
Some people will find that terrible in itself, but even if you don't, there are unintended consequences. Suppose she is out there buying you a surprise present. You catch here with the present in hand; she is disappointed that you found out about it. So, next time, she switches off the 'find me' feature. You see she switched it off, and either think 'she is trying to surprise me', in which case half the surprise is gone, or worse, 'what is she hiding?'.
Right, and if they do find it terrible, they don't use the software. It's not rocket surgery.
> "What is she hiding"?
Please, I'm not a sitcom character.
To attempt to address the apparently spirit of your concern, of course there are unintended consequences (to anything). The important question is whether the net effect is "terrible" (GP's impression), "awesome" (my experience), or somewhere in between. It seems to me that the main differentiator is what relative value you (and the close friends who would be candidates for sharing location data) put on secrecy (among those close friends) vs information (about those close friends). And I am reporting that in my life, I have yet to experience any downside, I've experienced plenty of upside, and some of the upsides have been awesome.
I would certainly be horrified and angry if Google turned this feature on by default, or if user locations were published to people they hadn't consented to, or something like that.
For the last time, privacy is not about secrecy, and it is not a battle against information. It's about dignity. It's great people get value out of these features, but do understand that to those who have not assimilated into this new culture, the idea that having to dawdle in uncertainty for 10-15 minutes while you wait for your wife to meet you downtown is some burden is ... crazy!
I thought mobile phones were supposed to solve that problem anyway. It seems nobody's content enough to agree on a meeting and patiently wait for their company anymore. Either that or they are worry-warts, or just plain distrusting. I find these new values very difficult to relate to, as I cannot imagine another reason for tracking your companion like they're a specimen of some endangered species.
I often wonder if Siri, and the new maps, is ultimately intended as a play for Apple to enter the automotive space in a big way. Perhaps as a hedge against Android/Google Driverless Car integration?
Funny thing is that there are timers, alarms, AND reminders. All with different quirks.
* Timers: "Set timer for 10 minutes." Ignore the mute switch, but you can only have one at a time.
* Alarms: "Set alarm for 10 minutes." Ignore the mute switch, but don't get cleaned up automatically.
* Reminders: "Set a reminder for 10 minutes". Prompts for subject. Muted by mute switch. Require confirmation.
It's very odd from a naive perspective that the same basic commands works so differently due to slightly different wording.