Is Siri Sick (of Local Search)?

Siri has been making lots of stupid mistakes lately in local search. Mistakes that it’s younger sibling, Apple Maps, is not making. These are simple mistakes that were not there when Siri was the only game in town. Is she just looking for some more attention? Is she thinking of heading in some new direction or is Apple Maps just sending her the wrong way?

Here are two example searches that return totally crazy results that Apple Maps gets essentially correct.

Note that Siri can not even find one jeweler in or near Williamsville and returns results that are 26 miles away while Apple Maps returns relevant results:

(click to view larger)

I have found these types of results to be fairly widespread while I was traveling last week. Here is another example (Hotels Allegany NY) :

Functionally these hotel results are even worse as the Burton is a bar not a hotel (as far as I know although this classification error is one that Google makes as well). Siri shows the nearest other hotel as 14 miles away while in fact there are 6 or 7 branded national chains just down the road. Many of those are also in Allegany.

The errors are of both geography and distance. In situations where Apple Maps (and Localeze & Yelp) know of many nearby businesses Siri can’t find anything with 15 miles or 20 miles.

Siri has never been a great interface for local search. It would return a list of results that once you left you couldn’t go back to without regenerating the search. But these results, which I first noticed in NYC last week are totally whacked out and fairly widespread.

Is this Siri’s cry for help or did Apple decide to save costs by not licensing business data for both Siri AND Apple Maps?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Is Siri Sick (of Local Search)? by

8 thoughts on “Is Siri Sick (of Local Search)?”

  1. Tried out similar Siri searches here in Baltimore County, results are spotty though. Categories with poor results: hotels, bridal shops, electronics store, lawn furniture. Much better results: pizza, coffee shop, indian food, dry cleaner, grocer, marina, garden store.

    Wonder how much feedback Siri sends to Apple. Would be interesting if bad results (not “local”) are fed back to engineering team for improvement.

  2. @Dave
    What is curious to me is that the results from Siri to Apple Maps are so different. Wouldn’t it make sense, like Google does with the main search results and G Maps, to present roughly the same data set for each?

    Clearly Siri seems to have been “downgraded” at some level. I wonder why?

  3. Since Siri launched, it has always been a “beta” product. Maybe, Apple is shifting its resources towards rescuing Apple Maps at the expense of it. They really don’t need both, so merging both products will likely be the end result.

  4. @Cleofe
    It makes sense that they would integrate the two products more fully… Maps needs voice input from the likes of the Siri interface. It just is curious that Siri should be suffering although you are probably right that all hands are on the Apple Maps deck at the moment.

  5. Maria

    Off course there is an answer. Unfortunately it is one that you won’t like. Google has removed your listing from their index, rightly or wrongly.

    Your only recourse is to communicate to them via the form on the Google for Business help pages and hope
    1- that they agree to let you back in and
    2- that they can find and recover your listings.

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