Thursday, October 20, 2011

Siri poised to take Apple into search

Apple's virtual personal assistant, Siri, has led to an avalanche of buzz. Siri's ability to interpret natural language--something that other voice recognition systems just don't yet do--has won plenty of praise. And her sassy personality--yes, she seems to have a personality--has created quite a few fans.

Yet entertainment value aside, Siri is serious business; and depending on how Apple plays it, Siri gives Apple a big opportunity to go after Google's core business of search. That, at least, is the opinion of Gary Morgenthaler, a partner at the venture capital firm Morgenthaler Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif. Morgenthaler was the first investor in Siri, sat on its board until it sold to Apple in April 2010, and was on the board of voice-recognition company Nuance Communications, which provides the underlying technology for Siri.