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Machines Like Us

A search app to outsmart Siri

Thursday, 08 November 2012

Siri, Google Voice Actions and other mobile speech assistant tools have promise, but they often fail to do what we ask them. And so we find ourselves scrolling one-fingered through mountains of messages looking for the right one, or painstakingly copy-pasting addresses into mobile maps.

A cognitive-science professor named Nick Cassimatis thinks all these big companies are doing natural language search wrong, and he and two grad students have built their own set of tools — and a start-up called SkyPhrase — to try to show them up.

SkyPhrase today searches Gmail, Twitter and Orbitz, through its own Web site, Chrome extension and iPhone app.

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