Next step for Sailfish: Implementing a privacy friendly FOSS voice assistance

One of the main differences compared to iOS or Android is a missing voice assistance. I don’t really miss it (except navigation), but if users are used to it, it will be hardly missed.

I read an interesting article about fedora:

It’s a big thing yes, but the competition is though / has head start!

I disagree with the phrase ‘next step’ here. I’ve always liked the lack of integrated voice control/speech in SFOS. I find it very silly to talk to a computer, and navigation is the only use case where I’d want one to talk to me. Just a bit space cadet-y, if you know what I mean? If there’s a nice non-cloud reliant open accessory that people could use then I have no problem with that, but I hate the way that Google, Apple and Amazon are so pushy with their voice assistants. We don’t all want to pretend to be Captain Picard :wink:

And let’s not forget the real reason why those guys market their voice assistants as so important - they control more of your interactions and get a ton more usage data out of their users.


Didn’t we have/had one called Saera or something like that?

Exactly. I think voice assistance has been hardly missed on SFOS as most users seem to be glad their OS is free of this type of questionable “features”.


I think the function is just questionable in relation to the way it is implemented. If an OS or an App saves all clicks and entered information, it’s a privacy problem. That doesn’t belong to the way how the user entered the data (by clicking, typing or voice input).

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It’s just another user interface!

I understand your point of view but let me answer indirectly: Is Sailfish OS a product? If yes, who is the customer? And are you representative for this customer? Old dogs like us can do well without this feature but are we the benchmark for a competitive product?

I forgot “not” and the “else” part of the sentence! :laughing:

“…but if users are not used to it, it will be hardly missed.” Currently we are at that moment, more and more users using it on iOS, Android, Windows (third party), so that it becomes a problem for users who want to switch to SFOS!

Never heard, is there a reference?

We have already Speech Note and Speech Keyboard. Many Thanx to mkiol!!
Both work very well for me, whereas Saera never worked for me. Both work offline.
Both not really what I would call a voice assistant, but quite handy and useful. I don’t need a so-called intelligent system, which most of the time just gives stupid answers or tell me that I should repeat my question, because I was not understood.

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probably abandoned.

I think it’s important that we don’t let the privacy squashers and walled garden lockers define the narrative of essential OS features. SailfishOS shouldn’t try to cover everything that they do, especially when those things are not there purely to help consumers. It should find its own way. There’s a position that needs to be kept alive for when the world moves on again, even if it’s at a low point now (though not at its lowest).


Agree. Voice is only essential for car navigation (voice output). This exists and works reasonably. But I never want the microphone permanently listening what I or other people near me say. I don’t want voice input.


We all have different preferences, and I did like the Voice assistant I had on my Lumia 910 (don’t flog me, it was a work phone) - Cortana. It was really convenient to say, “remind me, at 5pm, to call <a person>” or "remind me, when I get home, to look up " in my headset when I was commuting on my bike for example. The latter set a proximity alarm to wherever I had defined “home”. Or just “call <person>”.

I really liked the hands-free operation of a voice assistant.

But does anyone actually use it? I can’t recall ever having seen anyone do anything useful with it (i.e. not counting messing around with Siri when it was new). And furthermore, what evidence or even reasoning do you have that it would significantly drive Sailfish OS adoption? (That seems to be what you are implying at least)

The burden of proof has to lay with you if you claim it is “the next step”; asking “what if people would miss it” is insufficient. Make an app and see if it has uptake, or don’t (since you don’t seem to want i t either).

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Interesting, tx. But in 2018 someone asked for the projects status. No answer :frowning:

Yes, I agree but don’t you think there’s a way in the middle? For example: I’m using Pure Maps with picoTTS. It’s okay but the voice ouput in my language is not really good and I would prefer to have a “car mode” to have voice commands without requesting an API (only local on the phone) and a really good voice quality.

Yes of course. It’d be great to have text-to-speech and speech-to-text services in SailfishOS. But third party - what I’m arguing against it being part of the OS. On top of everything else, I quite like how SailfishOS has a strong level privacy because it’s fundamentally not interested in your data. That’s also why I’m against it ever having a push notification service. Can’t steal your data if it never gets given any in the first place.


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