“Siri,” a rival appears

“Siri” is the witty, smart-mouthed voice controlled personal assistant that came with the iPhone 4S. The program has wowed users from the start. “Siri’s” popularity led to an outcry on the Android Market as Android OS users wanted their own version of “Siri”. A few days later the free app “Iris” was born.

Photo from Creative Commons.

“Iris” is “Siri” spelled backwards and its developers at Dextra did it intentionally. It took the developers at Dextra eight hours to create the Android version of “Siri.” According to their blog post on the process, it became more a competition between developers at the company after Narayan Babu laid the ground work creating a search engine that, when asked a question, could pull up an answer from the Internet.

It’s no surprise Dextra was able to piece together an Android OS version of “Siri.” The company has been working on machine learning as well as the other programming wizardry, which makes “Siri” and “Iris” what they are for over a year. The company is planning to release an app known as “Friday” later this year.

Photo from Creative Commons.

“Friday” uses many of the same principles that go behind “Siri.” The app is planned to record your daily events creating a journal of sorts. “Friday” would listen in on phone calls, check statuses, where users have been and look at their calendar. The app then when asked what users have done that day will be able to dictate back to you what important information it had gathered in the day and keep it recorded as a list of events, allowing users to check back at a later date.

“Friday” is why this Indian company so easily and readily produced “Iris.” Initially, “Iris” received great reviews, but as more users pick up the app it’s taxing the system, and bugs are beginning to show up. According to some users, the app is now slower after the latest update than it had originally been. Search results come back with not only witty responses like with “Siri” have been programmed into “Iris,” but strange and often incorrect results.

While “Iris” is the only Android version of “Siri” out there, its unlikely that it will be the last. “Iris” is also sure to face a legal battle over its name. While a witty stab at “Siri,” it is unlikely Apple will pass up the chance to sue the company. It will be interesting to see how “Iris” develops for its users in the coming months. If the app can survive the few initial bugs, it may become something more than a gimmicky rival to “Siri.”