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Apple Details Improvements to Siri's Ability to Recognize Names of Local Businesses and Destinations

In a new entry in its Machine Learning Journal, Apple has detailed how it approached the challenge of improving Siri's ability to recognize names of local points of interest, such as small businesses and restaurants.


In short, Apple says it has built customized language models that incorporate knowledge of the user's geolocation, known as Geo-LMs, improving the accuracy of Siri's automatic speech recognition system. These models enable Siri to better estimate the user's intended sequence of words.

Apple says it built one Geo-LM for each of the 169 Combined Statistical Areas in the United States, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, which encompass 80 percent of the country's population. Apple also built a single global Geo-LM to cover all areas not defined by CSAs around the world.

When a user queries Siri, the system is customized with a Geo-LM based on the user's current location. If the user is outside of a CSA, or if Siri doesn't have access to Location Services, the system defaults to the global Geo-LM.

Apple's journal entry is highly technical, and quite exhaustive, but hopefully this means that Siri should be able to better understand the names of local points of interest, and also be able to better distinguish between a Tom's Restaurant in Iowa and Kansas based on a user's geolocation.

In its testing, Apple found that the customized language models reduced Siri's error rate by between 41.9 and 48.4 percent in eight major U.S. metropolitan regions: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and San Francisco, excluding mega-chains like Walmart.

Siri still trails Google Assistant in overall accuracy, according to a recent study by research firm Loup Ventures, but hopefully these improvements eliminate some of the frustration of querying Siri about obscurely named places.



Top Rated Comments

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10 weeks ago
This one still seems relevant.

[MEDIA=youtube]0oAEWx6cfz8[/MEDIA]
Rating: 8 Votes
10 weeks ago

Siriously still sucks.

".... incorporate knowledge of the user's geolocation,..."

Nokidding thats needed. Google maps: enter dr rodriguez, and it finds a Dr rodriquez in your vicinity.

Do the same in apple maps and you get rodriguez fish restaurant 3000 miles away...
Rating: 5 Votes
10 weeks ago
I can’t remember the last time I summoned Siri for anything other than ... “hey Siri, set an alarm for 11am”.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 weeks ago
Siriously still sucks.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 weeks ago

Fingers crossed!


Apple can't even make searching within Maps work properly. It does not return location based on proximity. That should be a really simple fix, yet its been the problem for years. How hard is THAT to fix?
Rating: 4 Votes
10 weeks ago
I live in Toronto and when I tell Siri "Main Street" it gives me Main Street Vancouver, which is over 2000 miles away. Why in the world would it not give me Main Street, Toronto?

Rating: 4 Votes
10 weeks ago

Too bad Siri still sucks. This is what I got after reading the article and asking Siri when the nearest Best Buy will close. Instead of telling me when the Best Buy (5 mins from my house) will close or the hours, it searched a result for ‘Best Buy Soccer’, which is actually farther away than Best Buy. And it didn’t even give me the hours for that location, anyway - even though it was the wrong business. Major fail.

I live in a metro area, Charlotte, NC so this search should not be difficult... if I wanted the hours for ‘Best Buy Soccer’ I would have added the word ‘Soccer’ to my query.

Incidentally, Google Assistant gives me the correct answer to the same question. Every time.


Man the reviews of Best Buy Soccer are very bad. I wonder people get pissed because siri tells them to drive there and when that arrive find out that it's not an actual best buy.
Rating: 3 Votes
10 weeks ago
Too bad Siri still sucks. This is what I got after reading the article and asking Siri when the nearest Best Buy will close. Instead of telling me when the Best Buy (5 mins from my house) will close or the hours, it searched a result for ‘Best Buy Soccer’, which is actually farther away than Best Buy. And it didn’t even give me the hours for that location, anyway - even though it was the wrong business. Major fail.

I live in a metro area, Charlotte, NC so this search should not be difficult... if I wanted the hours for ‘Best Buy Soccer’ I would have added the word ‘Soccer’ to my query.

Incidentally, Google Assistant gives me the correct answer to the same question. Every time.

Rating: 2 Votes
10 weeks ago
they should just get the rights to google assistant or alexa, since siri is garbage at this point.
Rating: 2 Votes
10 weeks ago
Siri is about to catch up to Google Assistant now that Apple has the man behind Google Assistant John Giannandrea. Should be good times ahead for Siri functionality. FINALLY.
Rating: 2 Votes

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