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

Cheers! Rule of thumb can control drinking
New York, Aug 23 (IANS) Did you ever try using a rule of thumb such as a half-glass rule or a two-fingers-from-the-top rule when pouring wine? Do this if you want to keep your weight in check.
 
 
Serotonin can reduce sensitivity to pain
Lisbon, Aug 23 (IANS) Researchers at Portugal's Champalimaud Foundation said Friday that the molecule of serotonin in the organism can diminish sensitivity to pain.
 
 
Pomegranate peel may cure deadly brain disorders
London, Aug 23 (IANS) Do not throw that pomegranate peel in the garbage bin. In the near future, it may be a source of drugs for two incurable diseases that affect the elderly.
 
 
Fitness app games no substitute for actual exercise
Washington, Aug 23 (IANS) There are nearly 31,000 health and fitness apps in the market and most of them use games to increase physical activity. Are they a real substitute for hitting the gym or walking in the park?
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

My children know they are lucky: Julianne Moore
Los Angeles, Aug 23 (IANS) Actress Julianne Moore's children may be privileged to be growing up in a famous household, but they do not take it for granted. The actress, who is married to director Bart Freundlich, has...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Pamela Anderson boycotts ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Los Angeles, Aug 23 (IANS) Actress Pamela Anderson has refused to take the Ice Bucket Challenge, benefiting the ALS Association. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise and Mickey Rourke took the challenge, which aims...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Clarke doubtful for tri-series opener
Harare, Aug 23 (IANS) Australian captain Michael Clarke has suffered a hamstring injury and could miss the tri-series opener in Zimbabwe, also involving South Africa, starting Monday in Bulawayo. Clarke picked up the...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
LaBeouf encountered stalker at home, called police
Los Angeles, Aug 23 (IANS) Actor Shia LaBeouf called 911 after coming face-to-face with an intruder at his home here. A woman who'd been stalking him for week was right at his door. Tmz.com reports that the police...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
James Gunn praises 'superhero' Dave Bautista
'Guardians of the Galaxy' director James Gunn says Dave Bautista's superhero-like strength was a godsend on set. Bautista rose to international fame through the WWE, before making the transition to the world of cinema...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Nick Cannon calls it quits
Los Angeles, Aug 23 (IANS) Actor-rapper Nick Cannon has reportedly decided to end his marriage with singer Mariah Carey for the sake of their children. The two married in 2008 and have twins. Tmz.com reports that...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nick Cannon seems depressed?
Nick Cannon is ''depressed'' over his split from Mariah Carey. The 'America's Got Talent' host, whose shares three-year-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan, with his estranged wife, is said to be very upset despite...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Sofia Vergara is being tortured in the gym
Sofia Vergara claims she is being tortured in the gym ahead of the Emmy Awards. The 'Modern Family' star has intensified her workouts with her personal trainer, Jennifer Yates, as she wants to look in tip-top shape at...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kate Moss undergoes chilly fat burning treeatment
Kate Moss has been using a Cryotherapy chamber. The 40-year-old supermodel recently went on a break to the LifeCo retreat in Turkey, which she visits several times a year, and during her detox, she was immersed in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Paul Stanley found strength by opening up
Paul Stanley found strength when he opened up about being bullied as a child. The KISS rocker - who was born with a deformed right ear and suffers from deafness as a result - was subjected to years of taunts by his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla