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'Hey Siri' site is ripe with tips for more fruitful queries

A third-party website provides a lengthy list of commands and questions that Siri can fathom.

Annoyed because you keep asking Siri questions it can't answer? Then you may want to check out a website that tells you just what commands you can pose.

Launched in early July and updated Tuesday, "Hey Siri" serves up almost 500 different commands with more than 1,200 variations across 35 categories. The categories include calculations, apps, device settings, calls, reminders, navigation, music and web searches.

Hover over certain commands, and the site shows you variations. For example, if you want to ask Siri to convert a certain unit or measurement to something else, you can hover over the "convert" command, and the site shows that you can convert hours, years or minutes. Hover over the "open apps" command, and you'll see that you can tell Siri to launch such apps as Mail, Safari and Spotify.

Voice assistants have become a more critical feature on mobile devices and in our homes, offering a hands-free and more natural way to ask questions, find information and manage our lives. But the responses can be hit or miss, especially if you don't know what to ask or how to phrase your questions. Siri needs to show that it can be a valuable asset, especially as it faces competition from other voice assistants such as Microsoft's Cortana and Google Assistant.

This website tells you what questions you can pose to Siri.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple offers its own webpage with categories of questions, commands and tasks that you can direct toward Siri. The company also provides a list of commands and questions you can ask Siri. Simply activate Siri and ask "What can I ask you?" In response, Siri conjures up a list of its own categories, such as Apps, Calendar, Maps, Contacts, Settings and Web Search. Tap on a particular category, and Siri offers examples of questions you can ask it.

Unaffiliated with Apple, the "Hey Siri" website serves as a helpful alternative to Siri's own list. You can more easily jump to a specific category or question. You can search for a specific feature, command or other item. You can see which questions you can ask Siri on the Mac as the voice assistant is currently in beta mode in MacOS Sierra, due to make its official debut in Apple's new operating system in September. You can even change the default language on the website between English and German.

The person who created the site is Sandro Roth, a software developer and student from Lucerne, Switzerland. Roth told CNET that he cooked up the site because Apple lists just a few commands on its website, and there wasn't a good third-party list of commands available.

He said he came up with the commands in a variety of ways.

"I already knew many commands," Roth said. "I played with Siri to find out new commands (really funny sometimes). Siri itself knows some commands. Apple lists some commands (as mentioned above). You can find commands on many different sites. And I got so much feedback from users about new commands in the last few days (thanks at this point)."

Roth invites users to submit new commands, suggest new features and report any mistakes. He also said he's working to improve the site and add more commands to the list.