Look out, Google Assistant! Siri could soon get a pretty significant upgrade

siri upgrade vocaliq ios smartphone iphone apple
Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr
Google may be working on a new personal assistant, but that doesn’t mean Apple users should be too jealous yet. In fact, it looks like Siri’s set to get some pretty substantial upgrades of her own.

Apple may be looking to give Siri a boost using a U.K. company called VocalIQ, which it bought out last year.

In fact, reports suggest that VocalIQ’s technology is quite a bit more capable than the tech from companies like Google and Microsoft — so much so that Apple bought the company out before it was even able to release a consumer product. After the acquisition, Apple asked the VocalIQ team to start integrating its tech into Siri.

If initial tests are anything to go by, VocalIQ’s technology could give Siri a serious boost in how it understands language. VocalIQ’s tech is based around understanding everyday language, rather than simply the commands that users have to memorize in order to use today’s mobile assistants. In fact, when the team behind VocalIQ asked questions using everyday language, its tech was able to understand 90 percent of the time, while other assistants only understood around 20 percent of the time.

VocalIQ’s tech, according to a report from Tech Insider, also understands context. For example, if you ask the assistant for a Japanese restaurant that’s kid-friendly and within 5 miles of your home, it will be able to provide suggestions. If, however, a few minutes later, you decide against Japanese and want Italian instead, simply ask it to find an Italian restaurant instead and it will do so, remembering that it has to be kid-friendly and within 5 miles, without you having to repeat those things. That’s a pretty big breakthrough for a personal assistant, and will be especially helpful for systems that might not have a screen, like a smart car or speaker.

Of course, it’s not yet known exactly when Apple plans to use VocalIQ’s tech in Siri. Some suggest that it may slowly happen over time rather than in one big update, however, others hope that Apple will radically change Siri in the near future.

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