Improvements to Apple's Siri Are on the Way

A deal the U.K.-based Novauris promises to bring noticeable improvements to Apple's Siri.

Apr 8, 2014 at 7:30PM

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri voice interface has struggled to win fans since its introduction. Now, the Mac maker is taking steps to the fix the system, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.  

Last week the company acquired Novauris Technologies of the U.K. to improve the technology behind Siri. Financial terms weren't disclosed, though history says it likely wasn't a big cost. Apple tends to buy expertise and then use the talent to create entirely new revenue streams.

In this case, Apple is getting Novauris co-founders Melvyn Hunt and John Bridle, who in 1992 founded Dragon Systems' U.K. research and development subsidiary. Today, the Dragon speech engine is the foundation of Nuance Communications' dictation products.

Can Novauris help Apple's Siri? The technology certainly looks interesting, Tim says. Rather than focus on words or sequences of words, Novauris says its "NovaSearch" engine is designed to recognize entire phrases and then compare its findings against some 245 million known items.

That's a potentially significant advantage, and it comes at an interesting time. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently introduced its Cortana voice assistant for Windows phone, while Google has made its own "Google Now" voice-activated search system standard on Android phones and an option for iOS devices.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you see Apple's Siri faring in this increasingly competitive market? Please watch the video to get the full story, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Apple stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google (A and C shares) at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A and C shares), and Nuance Communications and owns shares of Apple, Google (A and C shares), Microsoft, and Nuance Communications. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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