By Rob Beschizza at 3:28 pm Fri, Nov 25, 2011
YouTube link [Tech Australia via Daring Fireball]
That’s unfair! Siri obviously has an Aussie accent, while TellMe speaks Seattlese.
At this point I can’t laugh at MS anymore. I have too much pity for them.
I agree. I actually just feel a twinge of sympathy for Microsoft–and for my friend who takes an “I know I love it, I’m SURE I love it!” approach to talking about his Windows Phone. : Poor devil.
MS has billions of dollars. They don’t need your pity. Feel free to laugh alllllll you want.
While that video made it pretty obvious that their speech technology is not very good, the look and feel of the OS is so much better than iOS. The zune desktop software is fantastic. It makes iTunes feel like an excel spreadsheet in comparison. I’ve actually ditched Media Monkey to use the Zune software, and Media Monkey has been my go to music software for years. Also, the Metro UI makes iOS look like Windows 95. It definitely has a lot of catching up to do as far as apps go, and the camera in my Samsung Focus is pretty lousy, but I like the UI navigation so much better than on my iPhone.
I can’t speak about the desktop software, but there is nothing in that video to make me think that iOS is inferior to the Windows phone as far as look and feel. In fact, the iOS look and feel seems cleaner and more quickly understood.
+1 on Zune software, I had people asking me what it is and wanting to install it
Let me get this straight: the guys who turn up for the meeting at 10 a.m. are the winners here, right?
The moral of the story is that if you use Windows Phone 7 voice recognition you’ll end up on a register.
While I love to make fun of Microsoft as much as anyone else, this would be more interesting if they did it with someone without quite so impenetrable an accent.
Siri explicitly supports Australian English. As far as I can see, Tellme does not make that claim.
After watching the video, I tried using the feature on my Samsung Focus. It really doesn’t work all that well, and the video is pretty accurate, even with my fairly non-existent accent. I’m from New York, and I don’t have much of a New York accent. I am able to shed most of it whenever I need to. I said Play Kathleen Edwards. It understood what I said, but didn’t play her music, it just did a web search, and gave me the option to play her music in the LastFM app. I said Play Dawes, and it searched for Play Jaws. If you ask the phone to call a specific contact in your phone, it does that quite well. But it certainly isn’t up to what I have seen from Siri.
There´s not such a thing as a “non-existent accent”.
The sound of someone not speaking?
You know what I meant. Ok, I’ll explain myself. When I am around other native Long Islanders, I can have a thick Long Island accent. however, in a professional business environment, I am able to shed the accent. If you work in an office such as mine in New York city, where people are from all over, people tend to speak in a manner which loses the accent from their native area.
All I know, is that at work, people have a hard time telling where I am from, but when I am home, the Long Island accent comes out full force.
I can see the point you´re trying to make and I agree that people can show “stronger” or “weaker” accents. But I think you´re wrong. Sure, you can “neutralize” most of your accent. But by doing that, all you and the NYC people are doing is to speak in just another accent: the one you *think* is neutral or non-existent. It remains an accent nonetheless.
“Siri explicitly supports Australian English. As far as I can see, Tellme does not make that claim.”
And yet the MS product is still marketed and sold in an Australian market, correct? Seems like Apple is winning this competition on multiple fronts.
The vast majority of people don’t sound like you, no matter who you are or what language you speak. I just trying the same stuff on the Google voice search, and the recognition works like a champ, so I think it is fair to say that the big Software company did a second rate job at their voice recognition, and didn’t buy the right startup fast enough.
Impenetrable? The Australian accent!
I’ve seen US movies and tv shows that needed subtitles!
Oil beef act!
“Save a pretzel for the gas jets!”
But what if you’re in the pr0n industry and you really do need to schedule a meeting with a company called “teen anal?” Is Siri just going to schedule a random meeting for 10 am instead?
I have been hearing about Siri and this is the first time I’ve seen it demonstrated. Wow. The feeling of “we are living in the future” just hit home a little bit harder.
It really is impressive. When I first got the phone, I played with Siri and then thought, “nice toy”. But the thing is, I keep using it more and more for everyday stuff. I use it to set appointments, make phone calls when driving over the in car BT, and set reminders. By far the most impressive one is “Remind me to do blah when I get to work” (having already defined where work is in the phone), and sure enough when I pull into the parking lot, the reminder pops up.
The reminder feature is very cool! Didn’t know it could do that (I don’t have a capable iPhone but my partner does).
I too have been reading coverage of Siri and this is the first time I’ve seen it demonstrated. Wow. The feeling of “My god, talking to your phone is so inefficient and annoying” just hit home a little bit harder.
I don’t know; for a very select demographic, Windows Phone 7’s take could be a selling point.
Kind of not seeing the problem there, Rob.
I came here looking for teen anal, and all I got was this silly voice recognition demo. What a ripoff! XD
I would really like to know of the Windows phone’s speech recognition technology supports Australian. If not, then our snark should really be limited to “Windows didn’t properly adapt their phone to the Australian market.”
I would like to see the same demo done using an American accent, just as a baseline.
(Phonologically, there are some pretty huge differences between dialects of English; speech recognition software would be baffled by the different vowels, rhoticity, use of glottal stops, etc. Just because our brains can “adapt” to understand while watching Trainspotting* doesn’t mean a computer can.)
*The film “Kes” is the only movie ostensibly in English I have found largely unintelligible.
“*The film “Kes” is the only movie ostensibly in English I have found largely unintelligible.”
Watch “Snatch” (2000). If you can understand that english you can understand anything.
i came for the meeting
The take-home message for me is, Skrillex is awesome.
“Bad lip reading” indeed.
Siri has finally made it possible to understand what Australians are saying.
Obviously Siri is much more advanced. He’s comparing a Apple’s latest and greatest feature built on a sophisticated natural language engine to Windows Phone’s keyword based commands.
This demo is pretty misleading because he (deliberately?) used phrases that WP7 can’t understand. Commands like “Text Name” or “Call Name” work fine. His thick accent doesn’t help either; though WP7 can understand my Australian accent without issues.
Commands like “Text Name” or “Call Name” are boring. They’ve been done before.
Microsoft’s Craig Mundie, however tried to claim that
“you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows phones for more than a year, since Windows Phone 7 was introduced”.
That’s a stretch. No matter how similar the technology, no matter how similar the capability, windows phone 7 can’t compete if the usability and the end results aren’t also similar.
If TellMe is riddled with bugs and misunderstandings, it’s just a novelty act.
He’s definately exaggerating (and he knows it). The weasel words are a give away: “you could argue”. Though, in his defense you could use the 80-20 rule to argue that TellMe implements 20% of Siri’s functionality but provides 80% of it’s functionality (calling, dictating, searching).
My experience: I have a WP7 phone and an iPhone 4. Both are good phones. However, despite my iPhone being a year newer I can’t use Siri but I can use TellMe. My wife has an iPhone 4S. She’s used Siri maybe a half a dozen times. The primary use case people trot out for these demos is the reminder functionality. It seems to be the most polished feature but I don’t find myself organising my personal life in that way.
The video is not misleading. The other day some Microsoft big wig said he doesn’t see what all the hoopla is over Siri because Microsoft’s TellMe feature has been doing the same thing for years. The video is a response to that. The point is Tell Me requires, as you say, exact voice commands that you have to remember, whereas Siri does not. That, however, isn’t what the Microsoft big shot suggested.
Dear aunt, let’s set so double the killer delete select all
its only been 3 years, give Microsoft 10 more to work out the kinks in this fabulous technology.
How is “it doesn’t support accents” an acceptable excuse for voice recognition software failing?
Or, in tellme-ese: JXQWL.
The voice commands are different across the two platforms, I suggest you check out this link and try again:
That is the point. Siri doesn’t rely on Voice Commands. It understands context. A user doesn’t have to remember voice commands. Windows, however, is like Apple’s old voice command technology whereas you have to remember commands. You can have a whole conversation with Siri.
The whole video is testing a recent Microsoft executive claim that Tell Me does essentially the same thing as Siri, which it doesn’t for the above stated reason.
Shoulda told Siri to open a program. That’s something WP can do but iPhone can’t. Siri has a much better ear though.
This works perfectly as a metaphor for the history and differences between these two companies.
same results in German
There is truly no such thing as neutral english accent. In my experience educated Americans are probably the most widely understandable speakers. On the contrary Americans seem to have a harder time understanding and discerning other English accents. I am Australian and when I’m in the states people think I’m Brittish. I live in London and I can tell you no-one would ever mistake me for Brittish here. Just my experience. Someone ought to invent a ‘guess the accent’ test. Would be pretty fun.
First off he’s using commands that WP7 doesn’t understand but Siri does. That’s not really fair. Secondly, no one ever said TellMe does everything Siri does, or does it exactly the same. Again, unfair comparison. I don’t see why he’s complaining, I’ve never had problems using voice to search things or create text messages. For me the voice commands work pretty well with little word confusion. Maybe my accent is west coast enough for it. Also you could point out MS built TellMe mostly on their own, while Apple just bought a company to do Siri.
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