by Brad Reed
Siri is getting a lot of competition from Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana these days, but some young hackers have just made Siri much more useful, even if they did so without Apple’s permission. Engadget draws our attention to GoogolPlex, a new hack for Siri developed by a quartet of freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania that lets you use Apple’s voice-enabled personal assistant to adjust the temperature on your Nest thermostat or to shuffle through your Spotify playlist.
What makes this particular hack really great is that it’s extremely easy to set up. First, you need to go to your Wi-Fi settings on your iOS device and click on the “i” icon next to the network you’re connected to. From there, select the “Auto” option under HTTP proxy and enter in the URL “http://totally.betterthansiri.com.” From there you can use GoogolPlex by turning on Siri and giving it commands such as “GoogolPlex, make it warmer” for Nest or “GoogolPlex, turn on my lights” for the Philips Hue connected lightbulb.
GoogolPlex has also created its own command center that lets others share new commands that they’ve developed to have Siri interact with other connected household gadgets. Engadget notes that there is one flaw with GoogolPlex that you should be aware of: It takes much longer for commands to register than it does on vanilla Siri since “you’re always routed to Safari.” Nonetheless, the added lag seems worth it if you can use voice commands to turn up your house’s temperature or play your favorite Spotify playlist.
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