Apple buys Siri - virtual search assistant

Apple has acquired a small startup called Siri, which is an iPhone app that offers a search experience not unlike that of a personal assistant. Ask it a question in plain English, and you'll get a plain English answer back.

To get that answer, Siri queries more than 30 different APIs, including OpenTable, TaxiMagic, MovieTikets.com, Rotten Tomatoes, WeatherBug, Yahoo Local, Yahoo Boss, StubHub, Bing, Eventful Freebase, Citysearch, AllMenus.com, Gayot, and Wolfram Alpha. That means it can give conversational answers, but also do things like book tables for you when required.

Siri had raised $24 million in funding, but it's rumoured that Apple may have paid more than $200 million for the acquisition in an attempt to get into mobile search. There have been murmurings for some time that Apple was looking to build its own search engine, but why build one when you can just buy one instead?



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