Using Siri at the Office

All voice assistants have the same problem: it feels weird to talk to them in public spaces. I occasionally use Siri on my phone/watch at home or out and about with voice feedback turned off – it’s pretty effective for quick reminders or message replies.

But I don’t ever speak to Siri on my MacBook: for most tasks it doesn’t feel much quicker than using a keyboard and mouse. Plus in most shared office spaces, using voice controls could potentially be disruptive. Apparently only 1,3% of people surveyed have used a voice assistant at work.

But I recently started using Type to Siri on my Mac and it’s really good: you can enable it under Accessibility > Siri.

Then, I turned off voice feedback and assigned Siri to the same keys as Alfred but with a long press.

Now i can use Siri’s natural language input to do things like:

  • “Remind me to update my iPad at 19:30”
  • “Add event brunch tomorrow at 10:30 with Vroni”
  • “Remind me to put the washing on when I get home”

These are the typical sorts of detailed natural language inputs that take a long time to click together with your keyboard and mouse, but just take a few seconds to type out.

It’s so good that I think Apple should just add Siri to Spotlight on the Mac and iPhone – Spotlight also does some Siri like language parsing, maybe it’s time to throw them together. At the very least it might convince some Siri sceptics of some of the value it can provide.

Give it a try – I bet most of us have a few tasks that are a great fit for Siri on the Mac.