Google’s updated search app for iOS poses serious challenge to Siri

by: J. Angelo RacomaOctober 31, 2012

When the iPhone 4S was launched last year, one of the most well-marketed features was Siri. The speech-powered interface brought about a change in how users interacted with devices. Sure, voice-control was not entirely new. But Apple wanted to marry interface with content and control. Siri accepted natural speech instead of memorized commands, and users could directly command their iPhones to do their biding.

Android users may actually have a better speech-powered interface than Siri, although with Google being the central platform, the focus here is on search rather than spoken commands. Google Now on Android Jelly Bean uses the company’s Knowledge Graph to put better context to a user’s information, connections and actions through the various Google online services.

With Google’s latest update to its iOS Search application, it might pose a more serious challenge to Siri on its iOS home turf. An iOS Search app review by The Verge reveals that Google’s latest Search app may not be Google Now, but is “still a big step forward.”

Some highlights:

  • Fast and accurate voice recognition. The review resulted in a fast and fairly accurate recognition of spoken commands both through a WiFi and cellular network. Search doesn’t try to answer questions in natural speech like Siri, but it offers relevant search results within context faster than Siri.
  • Google Now style functionality.  Search does not offer phone-level control, which means you cannot ask it to set appointments for you or accept SMS dictations. But it offers search results in an interface similar to Google Now, particularly the card-style items. The app can read back certain items, such as weather updates, sports scores, flight info, stock prices, and translations.
  • Google app integration. The new Search app is well-integrated with Google apps and services like YouTube and Maps. Asking for directions will open Google Maps — within mobile Safari — complete with the route you asked for. You can directly speak to Search when looking for YouTube videos.
  • Support for iPad and iPhone 5. The search app supports different displays and formats, particularly the latest iPhone and on the iPad.

What makes Google’s latest Search app attractive is its great combination of interface and content. It’s a polished app that combines speed, good voice recognition, and Google’s vast stores of information, the review says.

Check out the video below:

Are there any iPhone users out there who think the same?

  • Michael Muyunda

    i tried this on my ipad 2 and its extremely fast

    • Apple didn’t give you siri, nevermind the bullshit excuses they give you that A5 processor can’t handle it because iPad mini has the same processor and comes with siri..
      Apple is plain greedy, simple as that.. they care about profit more than THEIR OWN customers.. You could thank Google nonetheless..

  • Why the hell would Google give this to crApple with them being total assholes and trying to shut down Android? The guys at Google are way too freaking nice, someone kicks you in the nutts playing the tough guy you drop their ass not give Em 1 of your damn great features. Damn Google what ya thinking? – KID ANDROID. ( Team.Android.Canada)

    • Don Rayner

      Because to Google it’s all about eyeballs and clicks and the more people that are using Google services from whatever platform the better it is for Google. Since iOS isn’t going away and makes up a good chunk of the mobile market, it makes sense for Google to release whatever apps it can for that platform.

    • Hans Van Nieuwenhuyse

      Google is not trying to rival Apple, Google isn’t selling their Android system! it is free… Apple on the other hand makes money from their IOS.

      The only goal for Google is to have as many users as possible (doesn’t matter on what platform), so they get to “know” you: they want to know what your interests are so they can ADVERTISE more accurately… because that’s the industry of Google.

      Google IS an advertising business, not just a company that offers free goods to everybody, they just want to know you by using their products.

      • aholsteinson

        Exactly. It may seem like Google is doing something contrary to their interest in releasing this for iOS but they are not. The core of Google’s business is in search and advertising, that is what everything they do be it a product or a service must eventually refer back to, it must lead to them obtaining better and more accurate data of users so that they can continue to improve their different services and offer better and more targeted placement for advertisers. It is a great thing that they released this app and that it is so good on iOS, the move makes sense from a business perspective.

    • On a Clear Day

      There is method in their “madness” Kid Android.
      First, the ease and speed of use and accuracy of Google’s app helps both remind and undermine Apple’s position that it is the greatest of the great. Second, it means Google will make money off Apple devices when people do their searches and ultimately, inevitably start to think to themselves, “You know, why don’t I just get a nice Android phone; cut to the chase and take full advantage of what Google offers – rather than have to jury rig things by going through Apple?
      Out of sight is out of mind, which is the last thing a marketer wants, which is why to have such a nice app being used regularly on the iPhone can only help, not hurt, Google and Android.