Are There Open APIs Behind Apple’s New Voice Commands?

Adam DuVander, October 4th, 2011

Perhaps the biggest surprise in today’s Apple announcements is that the voice command feature, widely anticipated since the largest mashup acquisition ever, is keeping the name “Siri.” The newest version of Apple’s iOS for iPhone and iPad will include the features of the voice command iPhone app that some called the “ultimate mashup.”

Siri used over 35 APIs to find what its users were requesting, including one to translate speech to text. In April, 2010, Apple bought Siri before it could expand to Android. Over a year later, the app has been built into the next generation iPhone software, but are the APIs still there?

At some level, yes, though Apple may be using highly-tuned versions of the APIs. Examples from the keynote, extracted from Engadget’s live coverage, included weather, stocks and restaurant reviews.

Back in June Xconomy suggested Apple go big with Siri and Nuance, the latter being the voice-to-text API used by the original Siri application. However, iDeviceNews noted job openings at Apple for “iOS Speech Operations Engineers.” According to Engadget’s live coverage, the speech to text is still happening via an external service (off the phone), but that would be using an Apple service, as opposed to an open API.

After what feels like a long wait, it’s good to see this technology make its way into Apple’s core product. To get a feel for how the old Siri app worked, check out our demo video (embedded above).

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11 Responses to “Are There Open APIs Behind Apple’s New Voice Commands?”

October 19th, 2011
at 2:04 pm
Comment by: App makers look to embrace iPhone 4S’s Siri | Siri iOS 5

[...] app integration seems likely at some point—before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use the [...]

October 19th, 2011
at 5:04 pm
Comment by: App makers look to embrace iPhone 4S’s Siri | Siri iPhone4s

[...] app integration seems likely at some point—before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use the [...]

October 19th, 2011
at 9:50 pm
Comment by: App makers look to embrace iPhone 4S’s Siri | Apps News Center

[...] app integration seems likely at some point—before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use the [...]

October 20th, 2011
at 10:52 am
Comment by: App Makers Look to Embrace Siri on iPhone 4S | Apps News Center

[...] app integration seems likely at some point — before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use [...]

October 20th, 2011
at 11:40 am
Comment by: App Makers Look to Embrace Siri on iPhone 4S | Bytes News

[...] app integration seems likely at some point — before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use [...]

October 21st, 2011
at 1:16 am
Comment by: App makers look to embrace iPhone 4S’s Siri

[...] app integration seems likely at some point—before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use the [...]

October 21st, 2011
at 1:43 am
Comment by: App makers look to embrace iPhone 4S’s Siri : latestiphoneupdates

[...] app integration seems likely at some point–before it was bought by Apple, the old Siri app integrated with as many as 35 APIs, and developers apparently planned to expand that list. But it’s possible that Apple will use [...]

November 14th, 2011
at 5:39 pm
Comment by: Life in a Post-Siri World « ecocho.org

[...] that is more like the past, where phones are good at what phones have always been good at — voice The current generation of smartphones is a bit of a kludge. They require a lot of text entry, but m…re like the past, where phones are good at what phones have always been good at — voice [...]

January 20th, 2012
at 12:01 am
Comment by: Not the SIRI API You Were Expecting

[...] Apple announced the API powered Siri feature, many started asking the same question we did when Siri was just an app mashup: where’s the [...]

July 28th, 2012
at 1:31 pm
Comment by: Quora

Which topics on Quora are related to the technology behind Apple Siri?…

According to ProgrammableWeb, Apple Siri uses more than 35 APIs [1]. For instance, Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram|Alpha [2]. Originally, Siri was built on SRI CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) [3]…

October 10th, 2012
at 4:02 am
Comment by: Apple Inc.: Which are the sources of siri? - Quora

[...] of the queries fielded by Wolfram|Alpha [2].  Yelp is another of the APIs Siri uses [3].[1] http://blog.programmableweb.com/…2 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/0…3 http://officialblog.yelp.com/201…See also:Natural [...]

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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.