Did Apple buy Grokr?

“Circumstantial evidence may suggest that Apple has acquired the predictive search app Grokr. And if they haven’t done, they should do,” Mike Elgan writes for Cult of Mac.

“Grokr has been called the ‘Google Now for iOS,'” Elgan writes. “With Grokr’s predictive search capability and Siri’s natural language capability combined into a single feature could put Apple in the overall lead in the crucial area of virtual assistant technology.”

Elgan writes, “There’s no question Apple should buy Grokr. The question is: Have they already done it? … Grokr has been pulled from the iOS app store; Grokr announced on its site this week that Grokr is being terminated, to be replaced by a new product that does the same thing called NEXT; (NEXT? Really? Is that an homage to Apple’s most famous acquisition?); Grokr says that existing users will have their Grokr service ‘“turned off’ on June 3 — exactly one week before the start of Apple’s WWDC. (Why would they disrupt users just to change the name?); Grokr has announced the launch of a beta program ‘in the coming weeks.'”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

30 Comments

  1. Did the word ‘grok’ appear before Robert H Heinlein’s Martian-Human character used it in ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’?
    Best pickup line: I’d like to grok you in full!”

    1. ‘Grok’ basically means: to communicate. But in ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ such communication can go to the ultimate level, if so chosen by the people involved. Other similar verbs: To know, to get, to understand, to unify, to identify with, to share together, to become one or to be one. Among sci fi geeks it is part of the vernacular.

            1. Word games are child’s play to botvinnik, soviet chess grandmaster par excellence. Although getting a little long in the tooth. As evidenced by his attachnent to the New York Yankees.

            2. I’d argue long in the teeth, if I had any original ones of my own. However, it’s difficult to shake this reality: your parents die, your children grow up and leave, women come and go..yet every spring my pinstriped Bombers take the to the verdant diamond in The Bronx. I’ve been there with them every game in spirit since the great Commerce Comet.

            3. So your relationship with the Yankees is not only not casual, it transcends everyday relationships. Actually, I understand and respect that. I promise not to make fun of the Yankees any more. By the way, did you notice that new book about the friendship between Mantle and Mays? Looks fascinating.

            4. Since Mantle was still playing with them in 1968, this does not necessarily make you “long in the tooth” (a phrase about old horses, really).

    2. “Grok” is in fact a true neologism (an arbitrarily made up word that becomes part of a language) coined by Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land. Here’s how Heinlein first describes it in the book:

      “Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.”

      (from the WikiP entry on “grok”)

      Etymology online says it’s fallen out of use “except in internet circles,” and another commenter below says it’s now a rarity.

      But I use it all the time – as do non-techie friends. And “the internet” now has nearly two billion people in its “circle,” so I expect it to stick around for the long term.

      Lewis Carroll and Edgar Allen Poe were also neologists who gave us many words that have survived. But the all-time champ is Shakespeare who created at least hundreds of ’em….

  2. A friend of mine was working there until a couple of weeks ago. They didn’t get bought by anyone. Their venture backers pulled the plug, and they’re going belly-up.

    1. That’s the kind of story employees would be told if it had been bought by Apple. The higher-ups would have signed an NDA and would keep it secret. Of corse, your friend could also be right.

  3. (Why would they disrupt users just to change the name?)

    After Apple bought Siri, they turned off the app service and yanked it from the iOS store. It reappeared months later as part of iOS as a ‘beta’ app. If this insubstantial Grokr rumor is true, I’d expect the same. Hopefully we really will see it show up at WWDC, but again we would have to wait a couple months for it to show up for public consumption.

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