Siri makers bring out Viv, and it looks a whole lot better

10 May 2016

The creators behind Siri, the voice-controlled personal assistant featured on iPhones, have just brought out a souped-up improvement called Viv.

Siri, which was so effective that Apple snapped it up in 2010, is now a household name. Since it joined Apple and featured on the iPhone, Siri has been helping iPhone users answer trivial questions and carry out simple tasks on their phone, but the lack of progression irked its creators Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer.

The duo left Apple soon after and since then they’ve worked on Viv, the team finally showing their hand a full week after The Washington Post ran a feature on the app’s “highly-anticipated” performance.

Asking the difficult questions

On stage at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in New York yesterday Kittlaus asked a few simple opening questions for Viv to help out with. However, what was impressive was the complicated layers he added to simple questions like what the weather was like.

Questions like: “Was it raining in Seattle three Thursdays ago?” or “Will it be warmer than 70-degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5pm the day after tomorrow?” were handled with ease.

It looks impressive, although most presentations do. So, until it’s out in the wild it’s hard to know just how effective Viv will be.

Also, as it’s operating away from the clutches of Google, Apple, Facebook or Microsoft, it hasn’t the user knowledge that would surely aid its capabilities.

App power

A simple sync with the right user’s Facebook page or Google account would point it in the right direction long before you even finish a question, one would think.

According to The Washington Post, both Google and Facebook have sought to purchase Viv, with no success so far, but surely it’s just a matter of time.

Syncing up with apps like taxi services, payment tools and fast food, Viv is armed with quite a toolbox. Whether it works in real life though? We’ll have to wait and see.

Girl using smartphone image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic