How to Use Siri to Get Information - dummies

How to Use Siri to Get Information

With Siri on your iPhone 4S you can get all sorts of information. Whether you want to know what the Family Guy TV show is all about, who won the World Series in 1990, or need to figure out how much to tip the waitress at your local restaurant, the answers are just a quick question away.

Imagine you have a question on the brain that’s been bugging you and you want Siri to answer it. Maybe you came across a word in a book or heard it on the radio and have no clue what it means. (Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us.)

Here’s an example of how Siri, with the help of Wolfram|Alpha — one of the world’s leading sources for expert knowledge and computation — can help:

  1. Press and hold the Home button.

  2. Listen for the chime and then ask your question.

    Get the definition of a word on the fly with Siri and Wolfram|Alpha.
    Get the definition of a word on the fly with Siri and Wolfram|Alpha.

    Siri shows you the definition and part of speech (such as noun, verb, or adjective) and, in many cases, Siri also shows you how to pronounce the word, the number of letters and syllables contained in the word, its first known use in English, its origins, its synonyms, its word frequency, its use in phrases, and more.

If you ask Siri to define a word and it’s not available in the Wolfram|Alpha database or Siri can’t quite make out your pronunciation, you’re prompted to do a web search instead. But in the interest of time, try your word again and ensure you’re saying it clearly and be sure to minimize background noise. You might get the definition the second time around.

You can ask Siri questions in different ways. To define a word, you can ask, “What does the word photosynthesis mean?” or “What’s the definition of photosynthesis,” or even “Define photosynthesis.” Siri varies her response every time you ask, too, by saying things like, “Okay, here you go,” “I found this for you,” or “This might answer your question.”

If you’d like a few more examples of the kinds of things Siri can help with, try one (or all) of the following:

  • “What’s the circumference of Mars?” Answer: 13,260 miles

  • “How long do dogs live?” Answer: 15 to 20 years

  • “What was the Best Picture winner in 1970?” Answer: Midnight Cowboy

  • “How many calories are in a piece of cake?” Answer: Approximately 239 calories

  • “How many meters are in a foot?” Answer: 0.3048 meters (or 12 inches)

  • How deep is the Pacific ocean?” Answer: About 14,108 feet

  • “What is the population of China?” Answer: 1.35 billion people

  • “What is the highest mountain in the world?” Answer: Mount Everest, at 8,850 meters