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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

By Request: Quiet, I’m talking to Siri

Subscriber Jim writes: How does voice-controlled digital assistants being next big thing gel with open floor plans becoming office norm? And Subscriber Matt writes: What’s the future of notifications in the era of wearables and mobile tech?

So Siri is coming to the Mac. But as I heard from a lot of readers, it’s hard to imagine Siri being useful on the Mac if you generally use your Mac when you’re around a bunch of other people. In fact, this is one of the issues with using voice interfaces in general. Talking is making noise. It can disturb the people around you. We’ve created all sorts of social rules about talking that are smashed to pieces by modern developments like cell phones and, yes, voice interfaces like Siri.

I’ve got an Amazon Echo sitting on the bar in my kitchen. Everyone in my family talks to it from time to time, but the communication is generally in the context of our home—turn off a light, play some music, what’s the news, stuff that’s going to affect everyone within listening range to some degree.…

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