Friday, 6 April 2012

How smart is your phone?

I've got a confession to make. Until a couple of weeks ago, I had what I politely termed a "stupid phone". The opposite of a smart phone. It could make calls, send texts, take photos, and that was about it.  But when the touchscreen sensors all moved about an inch to the right and I couldn't press half the buttons any more, I decided it was time to join the 21st Century, and got myself an Android phone.

I'm still learning the ins & outs of having a phone that can do more than my first computer could.  (To tell the truth, it can probably do more than my current computer, as soon as I download a spider solitaire app!)  To help me, I've added Evi.

Evi is an artificial intelligence app that takes the hassle out of searching.  The artificial intelligence reviews and learns from information gathered in searches, giving you more accurate & useful results, and compares facts to derive new information.  You can feed back into the database if you think an answer was particularly useful, or if it didn't return what you were hoping for, which means that future answers will be all the more accurate as Evi learns from her hits & misses.

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Ask Evi where to go for a coffee, and she'll use GPS information from your phone to work out where you are, and then give you a list of nearby coffee shops, with their addresses and contact details. Evi understands natural language too.  If you fancy a coffee, with a traditional search engine, you'd need to search "Coffee shops in Merthyr Tydfil", with Evi I can just say "I need a coffee", and interact with her as though I was talking to a friend.  She talks back, search results are shown on screen, and read aloud (if Evi finds a list, she reads back the reply, not the whole list) Bear in mind though, that like any "find my nearest" type app, Evi can only find places that have registered with one or more online directory. She can't see that nice new shop round the corner that just opened last week & isn't listed anywhere.  You could tell her about it though.

According to Evi HQ, around 250,000 of her users have been asking Easter related questions recently, and Evi has put together a top ten list of Easter Egg recipes, including Easter Egg popcorn balls, Easter Egg bread, and my favourite, Caramel Easter Egg Muffins.  Oh my, I feel a spot of baking coming on.  Evi has got loads of recipes at her virtual fingertips, and will even make suggestions of what to try - I asked her for an omlette filling, and she suggested a lovely sounding ricotta filling, which I'm dying to try out after I've done the shopping.

If you're stuck for ideas to entertain the family over the Easter break, Evi is a fab source of ideas.  You could make me some of those muffins (hint, hint!) or loads of other tasty treats, or ask her for nearby easter egg hunts, craft ideas for your easter egg boxes and tinfoil, or just the nearest place to buy some headache tablets.

In case you're wondering, Evi can't tell you who will win Britain's Got Talent.  In her own words, she can't see into the future.  So that's my money-making scheme down the drain.  But she's answered almost all the rest of my questions, I finally stumped her with "Why is Davina McCall so annoying?"

Evi is free to download for Android phones from Google Play (the new name for the Android Market), or 69p for iPhones from the App Store, and was developed by Cambridge-based True Knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. I think I need an Evi. Though it is a shame she can't see into the future. I could really do with a lottery win tonight ;)


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