Regular readers of this blog may recall that I’ve mentioned in the past I used to own an iPhone 3G; the key term being used to. No, I didn’t act like an Apple fanboy and replace it with the 4S with Siri and even if I had, that wouldn’t be what this blog was about. It’s Siri for your website after all. What did to was defect to Android. I got myself an Arc S from Sony/Ericson.
What this Has to do with IM
So just what does this have to do with IM anyway? Well, believe it or not, you can actually now get a custom assistant similar to Siri for your website. I have nothing to do with the company other than being a fan, but I can see real possibilities of creating something completely and utterly awesome to augment your website and let you rise above the competition.
How Siri Works
For those who don’t have Siri (I don’t either, but I’ve seen it in action and used an Android equivalent of it – more on that in a moment), the thing that makes it cool is not the voice recognition (Android has had that for a while with Google Voice Commands).
The thing that’s cool is that you can ask questions in natural speech (for example, I recently test my virtual assistant by asking “who is Halle Berry?”). This means that you can actually have a virtual assistant who could talk to you like a real person does.
I actually had such an experience recently when I was checking out a website. I didn’t even realize I was chatting with a machine at first because it did such a lifelike job of talking to me. Eventually, I figured it out because it kept repeating the same canned response to my questions (I at first thought it was a human hitting a macro). However, this did impress me and I believe that anyone in our community who is trying to differentiate themselves could do so by offering such a 24 hour virtual assistant.
Getting Back to Siri
Now, getting back to Siri, as I said, I happened to find out that there are several Siri like products available for Android. However, one in particular offers a very similar experience, with the kind of human like interaction that Siri offers. It’s called Speaktoit Assistant and it’s really very cool.
The assistant is named Sam and she/he (the assistant can take either male or female avatars and voices) actually does interact much the way Siri (or a human being for that matter) might react.
The Best Part
Now here’s what’s really cool – I happened to drop by their website and found out that while they offer Sam (and a few other examples of virtual assistants) for free, they also happen to have the option to create a custom virtual assistant which can be programmed for common questions your customers may ask on your website in a chat window.
This means that you could as I said earlier, offer a form of 24 hour customer service. So if you have an Android or iOS device (it’s available for both), check out this Siri alternative and then look into getting a custom assistant built for your own website.