If you know anyone with an iPhone 4S, you’ve probably played with Siri, Apple’s digital “personal assistant.” Siri intelligently responds to your questions and is able to induce meaning out of things like “What should I wear today?” and be able to give you correct answers (“It’s going to be 30, so you may need a coat”). Since this killer feature has been available on the iPhone, we knew it was only a matter of time before a developer came up with a similar solution on Android phones.
Cluzee is one of the the first attempts at that magical app. Cluzee claims to be an Android replacement for Siri. It “bring[s] conversational interface, intelligence and many more capabilities on Android. I understand natural language variations. You need not memorize commands.” Cluzee is similar to Siri, but on paper claims to offer more features, such as doing things like updating your Facebook and managing a “personal radio” with news stories that can be read back to you.
While in theory this app could be as good as or better than Siri, in practice it doesn’t quite live up to the hype for a few reasons. The first is the simple fact that it’s not integrated into the phone. Siri is almost too easy to use; all you have to do is hold down the home button and no matter where you are on your iPhone, Siri comes up, and fast. With Chuzee, your best bet is to put a shortcut to the app on your homescreen, but that could still mean you need to close out your current app or unlock your phone, then swipe to the right homescreen, and then launch the app. Because it’s not a native app, it could not be in memory, and could take five to 10 seconds to load — which is way too long when the whole point is to get something done faster.
The second shortcoming with Cluzee is that is just plain isn’t as good at parsing speech as Siri is. I was frequently misunderstood; Cluzee would have to double-check to make sure it was opening the app that I told it to open. It just plain didn’t feel like something that was worth the time to use, and I frequently got frustrated giving it commands only to have it crash and burn trying to respond to them.
Even when it does respond, it doesn’t do as as fast as Siri — even though Siri is frequently under heavy load and can be much faster at some times than others. After playing with Cluzee, the verdict is that is isn’t Siri, but it’s reasonably close. With a little work, it could be just as good as Siri. However, Siri is a work in progress, too. Let’s hope that some friendly competition among developers will lead to better voice command systems for all platforms.
Below is a video from Android Central going over the pros and cons of Cluzee: