Siri provoked a flurry of interest last summer, and presumably not just because CTO Tom Gruber took part in one of my podcasts. With their genesis inside a big DARPA-funded Artificial Intelligence project, their talk of emergent Virtual Personal Assistants and their slick iPhone-powered demonstrations, the company ticked more than enough of the right boxes to get the semantic technology community positively drooling for more.

And then things went quiet.

Fast forward to 2010, and Siri is back. The back-end technology is faster, more robust, and fuelled by loads more data. Robert Scoble has been amongst those¬†dropping not-so-subtle hints on Twitter for days, and other big names in and around the Valley have also been targeted in a carefully orchestrated programme of pre-briefings and beta invites.¬†That all ends today, as the iPhone app is now out of beta and available this morning from Apple‘s App Store. Versions for Android devices and the Blackberry are coming along close behind, and the company has big plans for building upon what they already have.

I got my hands on the app earlier this month, and put it through as many of its paces as I could from 3,000 miles outside the US market for which the current app and data are optimised.

I’ve written up the results of my play (and my conversation with Siri’s other two co-founders) for ZDNet, and look forward to trying it for real on my next trip to the States.

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