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Vodafone's Siri ad wasn't misleading, ASA rules

The ad touting Siri as a do-it-all personal assistant wasn't misleading, the ASA has ruled.

Siri, the voice-controlled personal assistant for the iPhone 4S, can do many things -- it can go on a date, it can swear at children in the Midlands, and it can even annoy Alan Sugar. It can't, however, provide all the location features in the UK that it can in the US, due to Apple not signing deals with the relevant companies over here.

So when Vodafone showed an advert touting Siri's abilities, a member of the public complained that it was misleading. Now the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has disagreed, ruling it wasn't.

The advert showed location-based weather reports (which do work in the UK), but not the maps-based features you can't use. Hence the ASA ruled it wasn't misleading. It did note that there is a difference between Siri in the UK and in the US, and that in the US, "Siri interacted with the maps application to provide more location-based functionality."

The ASA also acknowledged that us Brits may have known what Siri was capable of in the US, and "might read into the ad that Siri users in the UK would benefit from similar maps-based functionality." But that didn't represent "the average consumer in the UK", and, because the ad didn't make those claims explicitly or implicitly, it's fine.

The wording complained of in the original ad was: "[Siri] can even use information from your iPhone -- such as your location, contacts and contact relationships -- to provide intelligent, personal assistance." So not explicit, but not exactly owning up to its shortcomings either.

Siri is the main selling point of the iPhone 4S. Google is said to be working on a competitor, named Google Assistant (previously known as Majel). The search giant is supposedly focusing its energies on the service, which should launch near the end of the year. It should be opened up for developers too, meaning voice integration could be implemented in various apps across a phone, rather than working as a standalone feature. As long as it can avoid pratfalls like this, I'm sure it'll do well.

What do you make of Siri? Why do you think us Brits got the short end of the stick? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.