Siri’s mysterious blue underline, and what it means to you

| Friday, November 4th, 2011

Siri's pretty little faceI’m sure you’ve all noticed it at some point, but Siri is pretty dang cool. She’s not quite as good at listening as, say, Apple’s Friend Bar, but she’s good at it.

There are times, however, when she’s not so good at it. The other day, walking out of Home Depot, I wanted to find the number for Graybar, a wire and electrical equipment vendor, so I asked her. I should have been more conscious of how she’d take this, but what she ended up searching for:

Siri screwed that one up.

Yeah. Not helpful.

Now, I’m the kind of guy that likes to contribute to the cause. I let Apple take my diagnostics and usage data. When my Google Voice transcriptions come back all garbled and stuff, I often take the time to donate the recording to improve the service.

Now, we’ll come back to this in a second. Let’s get sidetracked and talk for a minute about Siri and her seductive blue underwear underline.

I’ve read numerous posts guessing what it’s for. The primary nouns in your sentence, the important action words in your sentence, or whatever, but none of them seemed right to me, or to appear with any sort of consistency. Then I noticed this…

They match!

So, when I touch the blue underline in a text, I get options on a word Siri wasn’t sure about. That means if I touch it in a search, or some other command…

Editing Siri's interpretation

SWEET STEVE’S TURTLENECK! I CAN EDIT IT!

Go ahead, type to your heart’s content. Once you’ve got what you meant in there, hit Done on the keyboard, and she’ll try to work her magic on the new phrase. Note that I do not recommend this during the time that I use Siri most: driving. So, if you’re not behind the wheel, go on, try it! I’ll wait here.

Pretty sweet, huh?  Not only does it do that, but she LEARNS from the input. I didn’t think to screenshot the gay bar thing, so I had to REALLY try to reproduce it for this article… She learned quite well that I don’t frequent gay bars, but I’m quite interested in buying wire and stuff.

So, next time you’re frustrated that Siri didn’t quite understand what you said, correct her. Not only will it be easier than stopping and starting her up again, but she’ll remember that for next time, and get better at her favorite game, listening to your monotonous voice ask her “Who’s on First?” over and over again.

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