The Siri Shortcuts feature that Apple launched last fall as part of iOS 12 has always had oodles of potential. And for some of you this feature, which lets you use your voice to automate a string of tasks or routines, may have just gotten a whole lot more useful. On Thursday, Apple announced a fresh set of integrated Siri Shortcuts, which are just now available or coming soon, and which the company says joins the thousands of other apps that already take advantage of the feature. American Airlines and Airbnb join existing app partners such as Marriott's Bonvoy, Pandora, Waze and The Weather Channel. The basic idea behind the Shortcuts feature is that Siri can learn your app preferences and routines over a period of time to suggest shortcuts that can streamline tasks or commands on your iPhone or iPad, and in more limited instances on the Apple Watch, HomePod or AirPods.
The key is a new feature called shortcuts, akin to the "routines" in Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. Shortcuts will let you set up Siri to perform an action or series of actions when it hears you speak a particular command. These actions will be able to dig into the functionality of a third-party app: Apple's examples included a shortcut that lets you use a Tile locator gizmo to find your keys, and another that allows you to pull up travel information from within the Kayak app. Shortcuts will be available across the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod. Their importance to the iOS platform will go beyond Siri itself; power users have begged Apple for more automation features within iOS for years, and that's exactly what shortcuts offer.
Hey, Google, did you know I could bypass Siri with one click on an iPhone and go to you instead? Apple recently upgraded its Siri Shortcuts, which let you record quick one to two-word commands to Siri create a tweet, call the wife, read aloud your daily schedule or play your favorite podcast. One of those options Apple is the ability to record yourself saying, "Hey, Google," in the same manner as you would do with Siri. The phone automatically goes to the Google Assistant app, (which you'll need to have, if you haven't already) and the Google microphone is cued, awaiting your query. Some believe the Google Assistant to be a smarter alternative.
Apple's Siri has fallen behind its virtual assistant competition. Google's Assistant expertly surfaces information, while Amazon's Alexa works with a staggering number of third-party apps for a broad variety of capabilities. Apple isn't admitting defeat, though: Siri played a prominent role at WWDC, the company's "Worldwide Developers Conference," on Monday. Specifically, Apple is finally tackling the issue of customization with its personal digital assistant: Making Siri do more, proactively, to make your day easier. Apple is primarily accomplishing this with a new tool called Siri Shortcuts, a sort of IFTTT built straight into iOS for personalizing and automating Siri commands and functions.
Google's latest Assistant update on iOS is packing quite the integration. The app now supports Siri Shortcuts, which means, with that in tow, you can now say "Hey Siri, OK Google" to beckon Google's assistant. Users who have the Google Assistant installed will find an update waiting in the App Store, and new users can download it here. SEE ALSO: As other offices storm the streets, Google's LA protest is quiet and sequestered It's not quite as easy as using the Google Assistant on an Android device like the Pixel 3. On that phone, all you need to do is say "OK Google," followed by any command you'd like. On iOS, you still need to go through Siri to use the Google Assistant.