I took another look at Nuance’s Dragon Go! for iPhone earlier this week after reading a Nuance blog item touting the app’s ability to route computational related questions to the amazing Wolframalpha engine. This is also one of the informational engines that Apple’s Siri uses when responding to iPhone 4S users spoken questions. However, try as I might, Dragon Go! did not route my test questions to Wolframalpha. This was the case even though I used the same test question used as an example in Nuance’s blog: What is the square root of 10?

So, I spoke with Sean Brown who is Senior Product Manager, Mobility at
Nuance Communications to try to understand the Dragon Go! experience I reported. For example, Dragon Go! sent my computational related questions to Ask.com instead of Wolframalpha as I expected. Sean said that this is expected since Ask.com is one of the primary knowledge sources used by default. He advised me that I could use the preposition and keyword “on” to direct Dragon Go! to a specific source. I could say, for example, “What is the square root of 10 ON Wolframalpha” to have Dragon Go! direct my question directly to Wolframalpha.

He also pointed out that Dragon Go! and Siri have different solution philosophies. Siri attempts to be a digital personal assistant. Dragon Go!, on the other hand, uses speech recognition to try to simply access to mobile web content and services. The distinction may seem a fine one, but it is discernable.

One final note regarding the Google Maps problem I ran into while using Dragon Go!. Dragon Go! sent my question about the distance between San Francisco and Honolulu to Google Maps. Google Maps directed me to drive from San Francisco to Seattle and then take a kayak to Honolulu. This, of course, is purely a Google Maps issue. Microsoft Bing Maps, for your information, when asked for driving directions from San Francisco to Honolulu correctly responds that it is not possible.

Dragon Go! as a Poor Man’s Siri? Siri-ously? No. Check Out These Query Responses (Social Times, Oct. 24)

Dragon Go! (iTunes App Store)