Supercharge Siri To Control Third-Party Apps With GoogolPlex

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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.

Siri Logo

By using a man-in-the-middle exploit, GoogolPlex directs your requests to Siri to their proxy server, where it is then analyzed to work with a wider range of commands, more than what Apple allows. More good news, this hack does not require a jailbreak, can easily be installed in a minute, and can be customized to your needs with javascript.

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.

iOS Wi-Fi Menu

Scroll down until you reach HTTP PROXY. Select Auto and enter "http://totally.betterthansiri.com" in the URL field.

HTTP PROXY

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.

GoogolPlex First Time

Signing up is real easy and you can even use it to create custom commands later on.

GoogolPlex Register

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 Login

Features

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.

GoogolPlex Commands

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 Demo

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

One of the more interesting and powerful features of GoogolPlex is its ability to let you create custom commands. These custom commands are created using the web app and are in JavaScript. You can configure the trigger needed for your custom command, and specify exactly what the response will be (or even import JavaScript libraries into the app, should the need arise).

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".

GoogolPlex Create Command

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.

GoogolPlex Custom Command Share

Featured Commands

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 Featured Commands

Conclusion

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.

Author:

A sarcastic curmudgeon who is a lifelong fan of tech and all things shiny. Huge Apple cultist but has since decided to live a double life in the House of Google.

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