Siri works in UK just fine... Thanks to Google
We hit the headlines last week on finding that Siri didn't support all the functions in the UK that it will in the US. Business searches and directions are a couple of the things that the current Siri Beta refuses to do, with those features promised in 2012.
Not content to take this one lying down, we found a simple workaround for these minor international hiccups: use Google.
One of the most useful things that Siri will do is search for anything you say on the Internet. As this uses the Safari browser you can leverage the power of Google to get things working in your favour again. And let's face it, Google is pretty smart at finding what you're looking for.
First of all, you need to ensure that Google can use your location. Head into Safari, go to Google and make sure you accept any request for using your location. If you don’t do this, it can't return location-specific results.
Then simply ask Siri what you want. Don't make vague suggestions like "I need peri-peri chicken": go straight for the jugular with "search web Nandos".
Siri then effectively hands you off to your old friend Google, who will return your local Nando's, along with a map and the offer of directions and the number to call, all in the Safari browser.
If you want directions then that's easy. You simply press the directions button in the map, Maps will fire up on your iPhone with the location shown.
If you actually want directions and Maps hasn't put in your current location (as the start point) then just touch Search then Directions again at the bottom of the window and it will populate the start point with your current location.
Hit route and you're there. Make mine extra hot.
The above method will work with all types of businesses, you can search for storage, particular shops or companies. You can also use this in more general searches. Apple's iPhone 4S keynote demonstrated a search for a Greek restaurant: "search web Greek restaurant" gives you that result in Google.
At this point, hitting the Places tab in the browser gives you a much more useful set of local results, where you can read reviews or navigate as demonstrated above.
So there you have it, the lack of all of Siri's features isn't the end of the world because Google can do the work for you. It doesn't have the polish or sophistication of Apple's solution, but it gives you the information easily enough.
Ironically, Google voice search on any Android phone will also work exactly the same way…
What do you think? Is this a workaround you're willing to use? Let us know in the comments below...