A brief review of Robin: The future of voice recognition or another failed attempt?
By Brandon Ross
Android has been frantically trying to compete with Apple’s Siri since the release of iPhone 4s. We now have Robin, advertised by some as a “Siri Killer”. Shortly after downloading Robin from Google Play, most will spend half an hour asking the program obscure, suggestive, and/or meaningless questions. This can be a great source of entertainment, being Robin has its own programmed Easter Eggs. The famed “Where to hide a body” question Siri will assist with, Robin suggests you continue using Siri for this line of work. So, if you are an apprentice assassin, stick with your iPhone 4s. Robin’s real claim to fame is as a driver’s new best friend. Robin can find gas stations nearby and quote the prices. You can ask Robin to find the nearest Shell station and follow it up with “Lets go there”, prompting an immediate navigation screen with proper directions.
The following examples were my actual test questions and the responses from Robin. There are certain areas, as you will see, the program shines and lots left to be desired.
Question 1: Who is Daniel Day-Lewis?
Answer: (In subtitled speech) Daniel Day-Lewis, Born 1957, a British born Irish actor.
Comments: Robin had a basic understanding of what I was asking. There are no profile cards or Google search results to compliment Robin’s findings. If you really didn’t know who Daniel Day-Lewis was, you’d still be left in the cold.
Question 2: Where is the nearest PetSmart?
Answer: Looking for PetSmart. Followed immediately with pin drop locations on the map, highlighting the location nearest me.
Follow-up: Lets go there! Robin gave exact directions to the PetSmart I asked for.
*Note: I used PetSmart as an example because the wife was nagging me about buying our dog more treats. Apparently, 6 bags of random goodies aren’t enough.
Being from the Atlanta area, I decided to deviate from the suburbs and began asking questions pertaining to activities/locations I enjoy during the weekend.
Question 3: Give me directions to Turner Field (Home of the Atlanta Braves).
Answer: “Sorry, I couldn’t understand give me directions to Turner Field.
Follow-up: You can’t be serious....
Ok, so Robin is relatively new and is still needing some updates, retooling, etc. I’ll let that one slide.
Question 4: Give me directions to The Georgia Aquarium.
Answer: Here are aquariums in Georgia. (Not exactly what I was looking for, but found the pin drop for the Georgia Aquarium.)
In conclusion, Robin can be a nifty resource for certain queries. This program certainly is not revolutionary and shouldn’t be considered an equal to Siri. Good news is coming for Android users, though. With the release of the Jelly Bean firmware, Google Search is primed to destroy anything on the market to date. I have included a video of Siri vs. Google Search from TechnoBuffalo below.