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Summary:

Siri, and possibly Apple’s overall search functionality, is likely to get smarter: Apple has hired William Stasior away from Amazon. Stasior led Amazon’s A9 search unit and was Amazon’s director of search and navigation. With the move, Apple can rely less on others for search.

Siri search

Apple has lured William Stasior away from Amazon where he ran the online retailer’s A9 program and was formerly Amazon’s  director of search and navigation. AllThingsD reported Stasior’s move on Monday, saying that Apple’s new hire will run the unit responsible for Siri, Apple’s personal assistant software. This indicates that Siri — and search functionality in general for Apple devices — is gaining importance for the company.

This move follows Apple’s choice to remove Google Maps from its iOS 6 software and replace the function with Apple’s own Maps application. One gap here is that Google’s search prowess shines in Maps, while Apple’s search features are lacking by comparison. Apple also relies on Google to power web searches on its iOS devices, although users can also choose Yahoo or Bing as the default search engine. Simply put, Apple is still heavily reliant on others for search functionality.

With Stasior’s background in search — A9 is the search engine Amazon uses for its website — it appears that Apple’s future in search is one of its own design. That fits with the company’s integrated approach as well: It prefers to optimize its hardware, software and services on its own, rather than rely on outsiders. Also of note: Amazon’s A9 isn’t just a search function; it uses algorithms for advertising. Stasior’s experience in this area could give Apple’s iAds a boost as well.

As a result of this hire, it’s likely iOS would see some noticeable improvements in how Siri can be used to contextually search for information. Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant software is helpful today, but hasn’t matured much since launching a year ago. Better understanding of what device owners are — or might be, in a proactive way — searching for could help Siri become an information predictor; something that Google Now has become on new Android phones.

  1. “With the move, Apple can may less on others for search.”

    Did Siri write this teaser? :)

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    1. Sorry, Mark, I am simply putting myself to the fullest possible use, which…. oh heck. I goofed. ;) Good catch and thanks!

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      1. I’ll take you over Apple’s borderline psychotic personal assistant any day of the week.

        Thanks for a great story! Here’s hoping Stasior can bring Siri into the real world with the rest of us…

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  2. Good thing for Mr. Stasior that they didn’t actually try out Amazon’s search engine before they hired him

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  3. “Apple search functionality will become smarter” … what are out.. dumb or stupid.. tell me which web service from Apple has ever been smarter than what is around. You hype out things just to get extra traffic and money. This is not journalism.

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  4. I wonder whether Apple has ambitions to make Siri driven capability a service for other devices to take advantage of???

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  5. Very good if Stasior can deliver, he should not be another Papermaster.

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