When Google announced conversational voice capabilities for Search and Chrome, it declared the first serious competitor to Apple’s chattering iOS assistant, Siri. Google Voice Search is now available on iOS through Chrome and the Google Search app and, for the first time, iOS users have the option to bypass Siri and ask a new personal assistant to search for sports scores, driving directions, web results, images, and more.
With this threat to Siri, Apple may now be on the defensive and looking to cut Google from mobile search as much as possible. At their Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday, Apple announced that Siri in iOS 7 would use Bing, not Google, to search the Web for answers to your inquiries. In iOS 7 the only way you will be able to convince Siri to search with Google is to specify Google in your request. For example, to ask Siri to search Google for information about Maurice Sendak you’ll have to say, “Search Google for Maurice Sendak.” It’s important to note, however, that Google will remain the default search engine used by Safari in iOS 7.
At All Things D, Liz Gannes and John Paczkowski speculate what Apple’s partnership with Bing could mean for Google. “If voice is the future of search, and Bing becomes Siri’s go-to search engine come fall, what does that mean for Google and its place in iOS? What happens when Google is no longer the middleman for all those search results it currently monetizes on iOS?” Gannes and Paczkowski ask. The simple answer? It’s too soon to tell. It’s too early to know if Siri will pick up as a highly used tool for mobile web search. It’s too soon to say if iOS users will ditch Google Search and Chrome in favor of Siri. And, with Android’s large market share and Google’s enormous search presence, it’s difficult to say if the searches that would have been directed to Google via Siri will have any noticeable effect on Google’s overall search numbers. After all, Siri only directs to Web search when it’s own pre-programmed system cannot derive an answer for your request. This means only a fraction of Siri inquiries lead to mobile Web searches, anyway. It looks like we’ll have to wait to see if Apple’s partial partnership with Bing will affect Google in a negative way.
What I find most entertaining about Bing’s incorporation into Siri is that the announcement came soon after Microsoft released an advertisement corrupting Siri to trash-talk the iPad. Who’s laughing now, Microsoft?
Do you think the Apple-Bing partnership will have any large effect on Google’s hold on search?