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Siri Clones and Fake Apps Appearing on the Android Market

By - Source: The Next Web | B 13 comments

Although there are numerous Siri clones on the Android Market, one particular fake "Official" app is asking for unusual permissions.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Many trademark, patent and IP holders may disagree, but even Nintendo is reportedly taking cues from Apple's trend-setting App Store design and creating its own version for the Wii U. Smartphones in general seemingly borrow from iOS whereas PC and gadget manufacturers are scrambling to perfect and produce a tablet to rival Apple's own iPad line.

Even more, Apple's current Big Thing, Siri, produced imitations as soon as the company launched its new iPhone 4S back in October. Several have actually been rather fun to use, but The Next Web is currently pointing to one specific "clone" that purposely tricks users into thinking it's a real product. Called "Siri for Android," it's published by developer Official App and on the surface looks legit, yet instead only serves as a shortcut to Google's own built-in Voice Actions.

"You've got to understand what your Android already has and have a sense of humor to understand what this is. Its obviously a sarcastic parody," writes one user on the Android Market. And while the app may indeed be a sarcastic parody -- the app description actually claims it's a Siri icon that opens "Google’s Voice Actions" app -- the cause for concern stems from the app's actual permissions: access to your location, full internet access, access to your personal information, and the ability to modify/delete USB storage and SD card contents.

For experienced users, this "official" Siri app for Android is clearly bogus. But for inexperienced users such as teens who received an Android device for Christmas, they may not know the difference. Unfortunately, Google is nowhere near as strict as Apple, and seemingly lets anything post to the Android Market unchecked within minutes. That said, it's unknown at this point if the developer has side-loaded malware into the fake Siri app, using Apple's popular brand name to ensure thousands of installs.

Presently the Android Market plays host to numerous apps that mimic and mock Apple's Siri. Skyvi is currently the most popular, landing a 4.5 out of 5 via 19,205 votes. Vlingo Virtual Assistant sits in the second position, followed by one of our favorites Iris, Andy, and Speaktoit Assistant. Fake Siri for Android comes in a variety of languages, and there's also Alice and Pocket Blonde 2. There's even an app called Siri Says Silly Stuff that has nothing to do with voice recognition software whatsoever.

As always, Android device owners should keep an eye on permissions required by apps, especially those that really have no business sorting through your contacts, reading your text messages or trolling through the SD card. Also reading user feedback is a good way to determine if an app is a real tool, or a possible tool for hackers.

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  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 30, 2011 6:15 PM
    The idea of a Siri-type application is neat. While I'm no longer an iPhone user I do appreciate Siri's fun/usefullness and look forward to something for Android that is just as, if not more, capable/useful/accurate/fun.
  • -1 Hide
    gregor , December 30, 2011 6:18 PM
    Doesnt vlingo predate siri, at least as an app? and if so how does it *mimic* siri??
  • -1 Hide
    zulutech , December 30, 2011 7:13 PM
    The new iris is just as good as siri.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , December 30, 2011 7:32 PM
    I hope Android comes right back with something more useful and not as "fun". I haven't heard much about Siri since it launched and everyone was asking it stupid questions over the first couple weeks.
  • -2 Hide
    stratplaya , December 30, 2011 8:18 PM
    Siri is the reason I chose the iphone over WM 7. The latter has the better interface but the former is just so damn cool and useful.
  • 3 Hide
    wanton7777 , December 30, 2011 8:46 PM
    apparently google's taken it down already
    http://www.examiner.com/gadgets-in-newark/siri-for-android-don-t-get-your-hopes-up
  • 0 Hide
    wanton7777 , December 30, 2011 8:47 PM
    apparently google's taken it down already
    http://www.examiner.com/gadgets-in-newark/siri-for-android-don-t-get-your-hopes-up
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 30, 2011 9:06 PM
    Hmm I shall take a 2nd look of Vlingo pre-loaded in my Nokia. But the full pronounciation of incoming contacts are already quite useful for a sub-$100 device. Technology, go figure. I put Vlingo away as a "cool" app but not "useful" maybe I was wrong.

    If Google Voice Actions actually pre-dates Apple Siri, then it can be said Apple shamelessly copied the concept of nature-speaking with noise cancelling the way Jobs did copy Xerox Parc for Mac System. They just packaged the whole thing better, and that is what I think a successful company should do anyway.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , December 30, 2011 9:31 PM
    @zulutech
    Just tried Iris again and I must say, it has improved a lot.
  • 3 Hide
    p4nz3rm4d , December 31, 2011 9:15 AM
    Siri was actually first distributed on Cydia(the jailbroken app market), which was later purchased by Apple...
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 2, 2012 7:27 PM
    Google won't do anything about it. What do you expect, it's Google/Android.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 1, 2012 3:36 AM
    Someone clearly doesn't know much about android OS.......odd thing here is that android had voice command recognition since android 2.0... years before siri even came out on Iphone. So I guess imitation is the best form of flattery. It's really hard to take these types of articles seriously when the writer doesn't have a clue about what he is writing about. Many of the "features" that people are raving about over the Iphone.... android users have been enjoying these features for the last 2 years. Drop down menus, heads up notifications, video calls...with or without wifi enabled... and a host of other features. IOS is still behind android and always will be due to the limitatons they place on the user and developers. It's a known fact hat android is on more mobile devices than IOS...because people want a phone they can make their own and personalize it...no such term as "jail-breaking" in android. It's your phone...you can do with it as you will and still not void the warranty...thanks google
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 6, 2012 11:47 PM
    The author of this article should have done some research first. Many of these so-called "Siri clones" pre-date Siri and iPhone 4S by years.
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