Posted: August 4, 2016 | Categories: Miscellaneous
When I first started thinking about the World Without Apps, I wasn’t thinking it would be a smartphone phenomenon; instead I imagined everything except the smartphone being the key to this revolution (my house, car, office and so on). I never expected smartphone processors to be able to handle the load or that cloud technologies would be so prevalent and so powerful that they could support things like Google Now and Apple’s Siri. How wrong I was - smartphones are core to this WWA revolution, and I’ll write more about that later.
Regardless of how WWA is implemented, there’s a core piece of technology that enables it, the ability for web services to self-describe themselves to any consumer. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana are code-locked; they can only do things that they’re coded to do and nothing more. Now, these technologies have an out that enables them to handle most any request (at least most but Siri): when they can’t figure out what you’re asking them, they revert to delivering search results hoping you’ll find the answer you want there.
However, sometimes search doesn’t work that well for consumers as shown in the following figure. In this example, I asked Siri how long it would take me to drive to the moon. A reasonable question, I thought; I was watching a special on the Apollo program and I was curious. Siri heard my question correctly as you can see from the figure (although she skipped adding a question mark for some reason), but even when correctly ascertaining the meaning of my words, she still didn’t get it and instead told me how long it would take me to drive to Howl at the Moon (I didn’t even know we had one of those locally).