Apple Reportedly Plans To Open Siri To Third Parties (Just As Hackers Force It Open)

Mar 5 2014, 5:06pm CST | by

Apple Reportedly Plans To Open Siri To Third Parties (Just As Hackers Force It Open)
Photo Credit: Forbes Apple

For anyone that wants Siri to do more than set iCal appointments and dictate SMS messages, there may be hope beyond a hack. Apple is reportedly working on allowing third-party services to integrate with Siri so that the iPhone’s digital assistant can carry out tasks — book flights or send texts on other messaging apps — which go beyond the services Apple can provide. Currently Siri syncs to other services with whom Apple has made business arrangements, such as Wolfram Alpha or Open table, but future integrations wouldn’t require painstaking deals according to the report from tech news service The Information.

Apple needs to step up Siri’s abilities in the face of mounting competition from Google Now and a Siri-like digital assistant that Microsoft is reportedly bringing to Windows Phone in early April, called Cortana. Even voice recognition firm Nuance, whose technology powers Siri, is said to be augmenting its own digital assistant Wintermute with the ability to search a multitude of third-party apps, according to one source close to the project.

It’s clear that iPhone users want digital assistants like Siri to work with other services. Earlier this week a group of freshman computer-science and business students at the University of Pennsylvania presented a work-around they’d come with in a 40-hour hackathon, which with an eventual app will, they claim, force Siri to give commands to other third-party services like Instagram or Spotify. The hack takes a minute, requires no jailbreaking, and involves typing the URL of the student’s own server into your iPhone’s WiFi settings.

Though it’s still at the concept stage, the hack works by redirecting the iPhone to a spoof of Siri that the students created, called GoogolPlex. Crucially, instead of spoofing Siri’s servers (which allowed Apple to shut out a similar hack called SiriProxy in 2012) the server is a proxy for Google’s.

It means an extra, cumbersome step of opening Safari on the iPhone but also provides an extra layer of protection, says one of the students, 18-year-old Ajay Patel. “So Apple can’t shut it down.”

Next week the students are launching a GoogolPlex iOS app that will sync Siri with with third-party apps like popular payment service Venmo, in a way the current hack can’t yet. Patel insists Apple won’t reject it from the App Store. “It’s not breaking any of Apple’s terms of services,” he says. “All it’s doing is interfacing with other APIs, so it should be fine.”

Having developing iOS apps for about three years, Patel says he’s been patiently waiting for Apple to release an open API for Siri that would allow it to integrate with other apps. “It never does.” Apple may be concerned that developers won’t understand natural language processing well enough to make a decent integration.

Even if the iPhone maker does have plans to open up Siri as The Information is reporting, it will likely still be very, very restricted,” says Patel, not unlike the way applications on Apple TV currently work. Such is Apple’s Catch 22: It needs to do something about Siri. With its current functionality so limited amid greater competition, fewer people may want to use it.

Here’s a short video of the setup process for GoogolPlex:

Source: Forbes Apple

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Apple Declares to Launch the Apple Pay on October 20 for the New iPhone Users
Apple Declares to Launch the Apple Pay on October 20 for the New iPhone Users
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users will be enabled to enjoy the Apple Pay service on October 20
 
 
Apple Reveals the 27-Inch iMac with 5K Retina Display
Apple Reveals the 27-Inch iMac with 5K Retina Display
The 27-inch Retina iMac has been equipped with the 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon 290X GPU, 1TB Fusion Drive and 8GB RAM
 
 
Apple Reveals iPad Mini 3 and Refurbished First-Generation iPad Mini
Apple Reveals iPad Mini 3 and Refurbished First-Generation iPad Mini
iPad Mini 3 and revamped first generation iPad Mini start at $399 and $249 respectively
 
 
Apple Reveals the New iPad Air 2
Apple Reveals the New iPad Air 2
The iPad Air 2 has been equipped with the A8X processor, M8 chip, upgraded camera, and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Bush shoe-tossing painting hits record at Doha auction
Doha, Oct 15 (IANS/EFE) A controversial painting by Iranian artist Mahmud Obaidi, depicting an Iraqi journalist throwing shoe in 2008 at then US president George W. Bush, was sold for $62,500 at a Sotheby's auction in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US offers $45 mn bounty for eight terror leaders
Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) The US said Tuesday it is offering rewards totalling up to 45 million dollars for information on eight key leaders of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist organisation. The...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UNSC extends peacekeeping mission's term in Abyei
United Nations, Oct 15 (IANS) The UN Security Council (UNSC) has renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Abyei border region between Sudan and South Sudan. In an unanimously adopted resolution, the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ebola cases in West Africa could reach 10,000 per week: WHO
Geneva, Oct 15 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could reach 5,000 to 10,000 cases per week by the first week of December. "Quite frankly, ladies and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Turkey, Singapore sign strategic partnership agreement
Ankara, Oct 15 (IANS) Turkey and Singapore have signed a strategic partnership agreement to boost economic, political and cultural cooperation, as well as security collaboration, during the official visit of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Christina Aguilera is returning to 'The Voice' USA
Christina Aguilera will return to 'The Voice' USA next year. The 'Your Body' hitmaker, who previously shared a rotating spot on the judging panel with Shakira, has been replaced by Gwen Stefani this season as she is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kesha's music producer hits back
Kesha is being countersued by her record company boss, Dr. Luke. The 41-year-old music producer, who runs Kemosabe Records, claims the 27-year-old 'Tik Tok' singer is a liar and is trying to extort him after she accused...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jason Derulo won't get back together with Jordin Sparks
Jason Derulo insists his split from Jordin Sparks is permanent. The 'Talk Dirty' hitmaker, who recently ended his relationship with the 'No Air' singer after three years of dating, has ruled out getting back together...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Josh Groban feels 'very lucky' to be dating Kat Dennings
Josh Groban feels ''very lucky'' to be dating Kat Dennings. The 'Brave' hitmaker was very nervous before singing in front of the '2 Broke Girls' actress for the first time at the Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Australian Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker prize
London, Oct 15 (IANS) The first Man Booker prize to allow American nominees was Tuesday night won by an Australian, with Richard Flanagan triumphing for a novel of love and war that tells the harrowing stories of...
Read more on Celebrity Balla