Siri could use some improvement in terms of broadening its usage, and four freshman from the University of Pennsylvania, calling themselves “The Four Loops” did exactly that. They hacked into Siri, giving a taste of what it could be. Finally, a program allowing users to maximize the efficiency of a better A.I voice without the long wait from Apple.
It is called GoogolPlex and its concept is fairly simple. It was designed to be used with the app Venmo, and iOS app designed to make payments to friends. GoogolPlex works as a middleman for Siri essentially, rerouting voice commands to other third-party apps such as Google Maps, Spotify, controlling your thermostat with Nest, and even has the ability to unlock a car. It is so simple to use, Americas politicians could even use this tool.
Here is an example of how the tech hack works. If someone wanted to find the bar nearest to them they would simply say, “GoogolPlex, find the closest bar” (or any of the multiple pre-loaded commands), and it will. Apple’s Siri then interprets the command as “Google Plex…” and redirects the command through the proxy server to Google Maps, instead of Apple Maps. It is even capable of changing the song on Spotify! As complex as this process may seem, it is actually very simple to use.
The Four Loops members are Ajay Patel, Alex Sands, Ben Hsu, and Gagan Gupta, all freshmen at Penn. State. Upon revealing their hack in the university’s “hackathon” called PennApp (which is sponsored by companies such as Google and Dropbox), they swept the competition and took third out of 220 participants.
There are a series of steps that allow access to the hack. First, go to betterthansiri.com. Second, create an account and then on an Apple phone, enter the URL. In the iPhone interface, head to settings> WiFi and select the “i” button next to your server. Then, go to the end of page five, select auto enter and enter the URL totally.betterthansiri.com%26/#8221 6.
Finally, begin a voice command with the word “GoogolPlex” and select continue with the pop up box . When asked, enter a username and enjoy!
Despite this great new improvement tool to Siri, there are some setbacks. For one, it will take a little longer to process a request and to find a result. This is due to the redirection to Safari every time a request using GoogolPlex is used. Another set back is that it only works with WiFi, for now. There were also some security concerns on the matter, people are questioning the safety of the hack because each command using GoogolPlex has to be rerouted through the proxy server. However, this only occurs when using the new Siri hack, not every time you use Siri itself. But even with all of these minor issues, it is incredibly worth it for a much more convenient and efficient Siri.
The Siri hack created by The Four Loops finally gives a glimpse at what Siri could be or beyond. The potential appears limitless, but with Microsoft’s Cortana hot on the trail of Siri, Apple may want to take a look at going back to college for support.
By Devon Struble