Apple acquires Siri: the 'virtual personal assistant'
Apple has acquired Siri, a mobile application which acts as a virtual personal assistant, doing everything from booking taxis to locating the nearest restaurant.
Siri is only accessible in the US at the moment and available solely on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The free app lets users type or speak questions into the device’s microphone, such as: “Where can I see a film at 8pm?” and Siri uses an algorithm to deliver the most relevant result determined by the person’s location and other relevant factors.
It searches the web for the relevant information and is considered a leader in the field of ‘voice search’. It can also book events or tables in restaurants and even taxis.
The personal assistant app was first demonstrated at last year’s D: All Things Digital Conference in the US.
It has made a positive impact in the technology world, with leading technology blogger, Scobleizer, calling it a ‘start-up to watch’ in 2010.
He said; “Because Siri hooked up APIs from around the world in a very cool personal assistant. It was one of the first apps I loaded on my iPad. Why? Because you could talk to it with your voice and have it do things from getting you a taxi to having it buy movie tickets for you.
“The value in unlocked is huge. This shows Apple is very willing to buy its way into the new mobile web and the new API-driven web. This also could be a major cornerstone in how it competes with Google.”
Indeed, the voice processing and language capabilities Siri will equip Apple with is being seen as another example of the company trying to up the ante against Google in the smartphone market.
Apple has purchased the technology which underpins the service but has yet to reveal how it plans on integrating Siri’s capabilities into its own product offering. It is unknown whether the Siri brand will continue to live or Apple will fold the technology into its own product.
An Apple spokesman said: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans.”
It is unknown how much Apple paid for the company. The purchase was the technology giant’s second acquisition of the week – have bought chip maker Intrinsity, for a rumoured $121m, on Tuesday.