Default apps for Siri.

Posted on May 15, 2017 in Thoughts

I wouldn’t call myself the biggest fan of digital assistants. I use Siri rarely and my interaction with the Google counterpart is usually just to prove my point that it understands my Greek accent much better. However, digital assistants are not the usual trend that time will wash away. Big companies invest a lot of time and money on them and once AI reaches a certain point, consumers will probably find digital assistants as useful as J.A.R.V.I.S. is for Tony Stark.

One of the things Siri or any other digital assistant is great for, is the ability to help you do things just by dictating them. Quite often, while I’m running and listening to podcasts, an idea sparks in my head and I want to add a reminder about it without actually stopping my run. The problem is that I’m not using Apple’s Reminders app and I also don’t find useful the various IFTTT workarounds that would take a reminder from one app to the other. Interactions like this with any app is what people tend to expect, but for reasons that I don’t fully understand or agree, that’s not how it works… yet!

It seems that Apple is already aware of the problem and that’s why they made SiriKit available to developers. But the seamless use of a digital assistant is not there yet. It would be so helpful to be able to define my own default apps for various actions and then have Siri respect those apps every time I ask for a specific action. For example…

Hey! Siri…

  • send a message with my location to George. (using Facebook Messenger)
  • play my running playlist. (on Spotify)
  • pay €20 to Jim. (through N26)
  • remind me to resend the invoice to Helen. (with Todoist)

Maybe the screenshot is a bit of an extreme example because I doubt that we’ll ever see Apple allowing any browser other than Safari to become the default and maybe they’d like to push Maps a bit more, but still… the choice should be on the user’s end and the operating system should only suggest apps, not dictate them! Maybe I’m dreaming or maybe something like this is just around the corner.

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