Introduced as a feature in iPhone 4S back in 2011, Siri has allowed iOS users to control their apps via voice commands. However, this does not extend to third-party apps, unless you jailbreak your iOS device.
The good news is a hack called GoogolPlex, designed by 4 freshmen from the University of Pennsylvania for the PennApps Spring 2014 hackathon, is about to change all that.
Recommended Reading: How To Make Siri Say Anything
Setting Up GoogolPlex
To set up GoogolPlex, go to Settings > Wi-Fi. On the network you are currently on, press the i symbol next to it.
Scroll down until you reach HTTP PROXY. Select Auto and enter “http://totally.betterthansiri.com” in the URL field.
Once configured, activate it by giving Siri a command that starts with “GoogolPlex”. For example, “GoogolPlex play Michael Jackson”.
This will activate GoogolPlex and since this is the first time you are using it, you will be prompted by iOS on whether you trust this server or not. Tap Continue. You will then be asked to login or register an account.
Signing up is real easy and you can even use it to create custom commands later on.
Once you have created an account, you will be asked to log into your account to start using GoogolPlex. Done? Time to start giving commands using GoogolPlex.
GoogolPlex frees users to use Siri with third-party apps, allowing them to create custom commands of their own, or obtain scripts that other people have created, all from the web app.
Commands are invoked by saying “GoogolPlex [Say command here]” when Siri is activated.
As a start, GoogolPlex will provide you with some default commands for you to test out. For example, there is a default command to play Michael Jackson songs from Spotify by saying “GoogolPlex Play Michael Jackson”. GoogolPlex will instruct Siri to open Spotify and play Michael Jackson songs.
GoogolPlex also allows the user to interface with other hardware such as Nest Learning Thermostats and Tesla Motors. After giving it your credentials, you can configure Siri to control the hardware – for instance, locking and unlocking your car – using only your voice.
Creating Custom Commands
To write your own command:
1. Login to your account and click on Add a New Siri Command on the web app.
2. Name your custom command, type in the phase that will trigger the command in Siri, and create the script needed for it to function. Below is a user-generated command to pull a random Wikipedia article using the command “GoogolPlex give me a random article“.
3. Press Save Siri Command. your custom command can now be used on your iOS device. If you aren’t happy with your command, you can edit it later or delete it.
4. If you think others will be able to benefit from the command, you can share it with your friends or submit it to the developers to have it featured on their Featured Commands page.
The Featured Commands section is where you can browse through the commands made by other users. If you are not comfortable creating your own commands, you may be able to find that command in this section.
Just install the command for immediate use. You can even take a look at the source code of the command to learn how it works.
GoogolPlex is an incredibly useful hack for Siri that greatly expands its functionality to cover third-party apps. Apple has yet to respond to this hack (some hacks in the past weren’t so lucky) but for now, this is easily the best way to expand Siri without a jailbreak.