Yes, Google, Apple’s Siri is a serious threat

“The search industry is in the early stages of a disruptive period of change,” Kevin Kelleher writes for Fortune. “It will look more like Siri than Google does today — that is, it will have a more intuitive AI feel to it. Apple and Google — and maybe even Microsoft — will play a key role in shaping it. Which means it’s well past time to be worrying about whether Google is a monopoly.”

“Apple has found a way to advance search in an equally dramatic way: Siri. There’s no search box to type into. You just ask,” Kelleher writes. “But Siri is more than voice recognition. It’s a form of AI that takes a few more steps closer to an app that could pass the Turing test. People are still uncomfortable with any AI application that could be mistaken for a human, but the Easter-egg answers Apple has snuck into the app defuses any potential discomfort, and in fact gives Siri a conversational interface that feels far more personal that Google’s spartan home page.”

Kelleher writes, “It’s that conversational interface that poses the threat to Google. No longer is the search box the front-end of searches on the iPhone 4S. Google is the back-end technology that is suddenly less visible. Or rather, one of the back ends. Because of the rise of specialized searches like Yelp and Wolfram|Alpha, Siri can easily bypass Google’s search algorithms for many queries… The question isn’t whether Siri is a search engine that can replace Google’s search box. It’s a different kind of search — that is, it’s the future of search.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
New study shows people using Apple’s Siri don’t really need Google search – November 7, 2011
Google’s Eric Schmidt tells U.S. Senators Apple’s Siri is significant competitive threat – November 5, 2011
More proof that Apple’s Siri is intended to be a Google killer – November 4, 2011
Apple’s Siri is eating Google’s lunch – November 3, 2011

30 Comments

  1. The huge difference is in the output. That’s the major problem for Google. There’s no place to stick an ad in a voice response, unless you insert an audio ad into the response, and consumers and Apple aren’t going to stand for that.

    1. They will if it’s first introduced as “save $5/month off your plan if you agree to 5-10 second audio ads before certain voice queries”. Then when enough of the market is suckered in and used to it, the $5 discount disappears.

      1. No way, I would not accept any voice message for any amount, short of full monthly payment, of reduction. If I ask and a message speaks of something that may offend someone. I will slap a lawsuit on Google just after one is place one me. Pass the love back to Google.

        No, will not!

    2. I was thinking the same thing. A voice ad would be irritating to the max and unworkable. And this wasn’t covered in any futuristic movies with talking computers as you can imagine on the starship Enterprise “Yes Captain I can answer that question as the ship is in dire peril and needs an immediate answer, but first a word from my sponsor…”

    3. Good Point.

      The companion problem Google has with Siri is that if Google produces a competitive product, it too will either bypass their ad model or have to insert an audio ad as well. And consumers (as you pointed out) are not going to stand for that.

  2. I think everyone’s missing the “Big Picture” in ALL of this… I am almost certain that Siri was already known by Google because of Eric Schmidt’s Board seat. I think THIS is EXACTLY why they went into Mobile and other areas. They KNEW this was coming, just not WHEN it was coming… Their move into mobile, desktop and portable computing was the ONLY way they could gamble that they would have MANY consumers LOCKED in to their ecosystem and thereby stemming the blow to their search EMPIRE… Makes sense once you step back and look at it ALL… THIS is what pissed Steve off, the fact that there would now be yet ANOTHER company that would copy (or attempt to copy) the secret sauce (and other design and functions)… No wonder he was livid… Thermonuclear indeed!

    1. By the time Apple was talking to Siri, Schmidt was long gone. If Google knew this was coming they could have bought Siri, or forced Apple to pay far more than it reportedly did.

    2. Your timeline is waaaaay off. Eric left Apple’s board in April 2009. Apple did not buy Siri until April 2010. I think Apple bought Siri exactly because Google was making Android to copy the iPhone. Remember the conversation that Steve had with Eric at the coffeehouse? A tipster overheard Steve saying:

      “They’re going to see it all eventually so who cares how they get it.” Which seemed to be about web content, said the tipster.

      Don’t do revisionist history here. Google pissed off Apple, and now Apple is making Google irrelevant.

      1. I am not trying to revise history here but perhaps history is skewed because not all the fact’s are known to anyone but the parties involved. I was merely speculating and hypothesizing my own theories as to why and how it all played out. Just because APPLE bought Siri in April 2010 does NOT IN ANY WAY address how long they were looking at them for the purchase, let alone how long it takes from start to finish on a large purchase.
        I am sure there were meetings taking place in 2009 maybe even late 2008. You don’t just wake up one morning and make a phone call and say, hey, I want to buy your company TODAY, make it so… There’s regulatory filings, meetings between company heads, lawyers and so on.
        Move along and go harass the real TROLLS around here, I am not one of them.

  3. @JeffButler

    It was inevitable that Google had to do this or risk being locked out of search on mobile devices. But watching the Apple and Google fight is like watching 2 parents you love getting a divorce. What about the kids???

    1. Only love the one parent…the other is a cheating bitch (Google) and deserves what she gets.

      As for the kids….thank God there were none. Dad (Steve) has always provided properly for the kids and always will even if he has left us.

  4. Furthermore, if you are not searching google or clicking their adds or visiting their websites, how are they going to make any revenue? If you no longer need Google and their services, how do they survive? Google make less than nothing on their OS for the manufacturer’s devices, no matter how many they ship… The OS is free… They Have to have people using their devices and services, THAT’s their Achilles heel… Now do you see why Apple went after the injunctions FIRST? If you can’t sell any devices, you can’t grow your user base… If you can’t grow your user base then you start to become dependent on your “services”, if nobody uses your services (Siri and the MANY millions of people who have ALREADY purchased and the MANY more millions who will in the near term), well, you get the picture… A LONG SLOW death spiral
    The party is almost over and the fat lady has begun to sing…

  5. More than just Google will take a beating from Siri, in my opinion. A pet peeve of mine is the huge growth in what I call parasites, those meta-sites, consolidators, aggregators who believe they are doing the world a favor. Type “Regal Hotel, Melbourne” into Google and all you get is page after page of meta-sites and other web listings for hotels anywhere in the world, rental cars, travel insurance and a ton of other useless shit. All I wanted was the web site for the Regal Hotel in Melbourne, godamnit.

    These opportunistic bastards are out to push advertising, not help with a search. And I think they will be the first to fall by the wayside as Siri eats into Google’s search model.

  6. Yeah because I want to have to talk out loud into my phone to do a simple search. That works well in a loud environment. Or better yet on a bus or subway.
    It reminds me of those morons who wear bluetooth headsets. Looks like they’re talking to themselves.

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