Editing your Siri query

John Gruber, via Daring Fireball:

Pichai’s example of a query Google Assistant can handle but which “other assistants” cannot was asking “What is Draymond Green’s jersey number?” I tried that query in the Google app on my iPhone. Got the right answer: 23. I tried with Alexa on my Echo, and got the response “Hmm. I can’t find the answer to the question I heard.” I tried with Siri, and I got this.

Follow John’s link and you’ll see a typical Siri response to a misunderstood query. Not useful, clearly a misunderstanding.

I tried the same thing:

Siri, what is Draymont Green’s jersey number

Note that I tried several times before I got even close to the right spelling of Draymond Green’s name (note the “d” instead of a “t”). Without the correct spelling, Siri is lost.

First things first, this is a context problem. If Siri knew I was a Golden State Warriors fan and had the ability to maintain that sort of context, Siri could resolve this. Alternatively, if Siri had an ongoing context of people in the news, famous people, or (knowing I asked for a jersey number) sports figures who played in games last night, Siri would be able to pick up on what I meant by my query.

Is this detailed contextual awareness coming? Watching the Google I/O keynote, you have a sense that this deep contextual model is a central part of Google’s new announcements. In addition, Google makes their assistant available to developers via an API. Apple, on the other hand, has a long tradition of keeping their R&D cards close to the vest. It’ll be very interesting to hear what Apple has to say about Siri and contextual awareness at WWDC.

OK, back to the Draymond Green jersey problem. Like John Gruber, try as I might, I could not get Siri to understand the name Draymond Green. The key was to edit my query.

Once Siri responded to the unintelligible Draymont (with a “t”) Green query, I dragged down on my screen to reveal the original query. I then tapped on the query to edit it, changed the “t” to a “d” and, lo and behold, Siri responded with:

Draymond Green’s jersey number is 23

Siri followed that with a picture and some stats, just what you’d expect.

Interestingly, you can edit the last Siri query, and you drag down to see previous queries, but you can only edit the last query.

Big thanks and a giant hat tip to Rob Davey for his help working through the logic here.