Love it or hate it, Apple's Siri doesn't have to be the be-all and end-all of smart personal assistants. Check out these solid apps.
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The free Dragon Go by Nuance lets you search for information on the Web using only your voice. Simply speak your query -- "productivity software," for instance. You can type to edit your query as well.
What comes back? Lots of different kinds of content that serve up the best answers to match your quest -- a "nearly unconstrained ecosystem of content" is how company executives describe it. Dragon Go will show results from Amazon, eBay and others for purchase links, along with Wikipedia and others, as it tries to understand your intent. Depending on your query, it will also pull up results from Yelp, OpenTable and Urbanspoon to help with restaurant reservations, and from ESPN, CNN sports, SI.com for sports info.
Dragon Go's specialty is search; it does not let you compose text messages or emails. But you can use your voice to call up tunes -- "Play Skyfall," for example. Nuance says that Dragon Go will get to know your speaking style as time goes on, improving word recognition all the while. The app works with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, and on third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch devices with an external mic.
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