Here comes the Siri bot
Right now you navigate the Apple website in more or less the same way as you've always done: point, click, point, click, search. Certainly, you don't need to waste time using Flash, but the experi nice – while recently redefined – is more or less the same.
[Also read: 10 ways Apple’s Siri can help you get things done]
Why not weave Siri inside? How would you use it? Well, for search, of course. Implementation may consist of a Siri button on the Apple website, a quick systems, bandwidth and mic check, and you would be in and able to ask questions like:
- Show me information about iOS market Share?
- Let me look at what Macs you have for sale.
- Take me to the Apple Watch tech support pages
- Where can I get in store tech support near me?
- Remind me to check this page at 8am on November 4
- Take me to the Apple Watch tech support pages that explain how to set up the dock
- Add this product to my Christmas shopping list in Notes
Or even sophisticated queries, such as find me the best app for home decorating released in the last 12-months that is popular in my city.
Siri in store
Apple certainly needs to deploy Siri in this way for retail. The digital transformation of retail is a major force. We know the company is developing indoor mapping and VR technologies that may have an impact in the retail sector, so there is no reason it will not embrace the logical potential of giving Siri an online identity and purpose as a natural language speaking “bot”.
“Product search and discovery is a key stage in the shopper journey,” noted Juniper Research analyst, Steffen Sorrell. “Offering a conversational consumer interface, then marrying intent with contextual product data will drive merchant differentiation.”
It makes complete sense to marry a cross-platform Siri integration online with Apple’s mobile products. You might then be able to use some older Windows terminal to find and purchase products, authorizing such purchase with a tap in your Apple Watch.
In addition to this, by making Siri available online cross-platform, Apple would be able to silence critics who claim (with little evidence) that Siri does not compete with alternatives.
Providing those who have not bought into Apple products a chance to use Siri for themselves may help.
Developers may also benefit. Apple would be able to offer APIs to website owners to enable them to support Siri on their sites. That might be fun, but also means that as more sites acquire support for the tech, Apple’s database of search results would grow. Eventually you would be able to use natural language for site search anywhere, challenging the grip of traditional search providers.
This also means any attempt to deploy Siri as a bot will face competition. Equally not to do so will limit future opportunities in the emerging era of ambient computing. And it’s also clear the Web will become balkanized as sites choose to champion one bot, or another. (Which is something we should all guard against).
It is arguable that bots are a fad. True, or false, it seems the best place Apple might start to use them is on one of the world’s most popular websites, Apple.com.
When is it happening? I asked Siri, who seemed to understand enough about the question to say:
So will Apple put Siri online? I think it could and I know that Tim Cook’s Apple is expanding into everything it can reach, but what do you think?
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