Apple posts new jobs for Siri positions hinting at API and more languages

Wed, Dec 7, 2011


Siri is reportedly one of the largest software teams at Apple, which makes sense given the inherent complexities involved in voice recognition and the prominence with which Apple is touting its voice recognition feature.

Now Apple is apparently looking to add a little bit more bulk to its Siri team.

AppleInsider directs us to two new Apple job postings looking for “iOS Software Engineers”. One, looking for an engineer to join the team responsible for the Siri UI reads:

You will primarily be responsible for implementing the conversation view and its many different actions. This includes defining a system that enables a dialog to appear intuitive, a task that involves many subtle UI behaviors in a dynamic, complex system. You will have several clients of your code, so the ability to formulate and support a clear API is needed.

The other Siri position is calling for an engineer to handle the content that appears within Siri’s conversational view.

This is a broad-ranging task – we take every application that Siri interacts with, distill it down to fundamentals, and implement that application’s UI in a theme fitting with Siri. Consider it an entire miniature OS within the OS, and you get a good idea of the scope!

In addition, AI notes that Apple is concurrently looking for Language Technologies Engineers tasked with opening up Siri in more languages. Siri is currently supports French, German, and variations of English.

While users seem to love Siri, the feature hasn’t been free of criticisims. Pundits have been quick to point out its limitations, while executives at both Google and Microsoft publicly scoffed at Siri’s utility and ability. You might remember that Microsoft’s Craig Mundie two weeks ago boldly claimed that Siri was essentially the same as Microsoft’s “TellMe” feature in Windows Phone 7, a lofty claim that was quickly debunked in a viral video pitting Apple’s voice recognition feature against Microsoft’s.

And of course, how can we forget the absurd abortion saga that plagued Siri last week.

Nevertheless, Apple is clearly devoting a significant amount of resources towards Siri and it’ll be interesting to see just how far Apple extends its functionality. Remember that the original incarnation of Siri, before being bought up by Apple, could perform a lot more tasks than Apple’s own implementation. We can only imagine that Apple wants to get Siri absolutely right and roll out new features at a measured pace rather than throwing the whole kitchen sink at it, risking a poor user experience in the process.

In any event, note the conspicuous mention of a Siri API in the job listings above, lending more credence to rumors that Apple will open it up for integration with even more outside clients. As it stands now, the only third-parties Siri communicates with are Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, and Yelp. While this is all speculative at this point, rumor has it that a Siri API won’t be making an appearance anytime soon, but is definitely something Apple has on its iOS roadmap.

via AppleInsider


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