iOS Users: Welcome to the predictive search future. Google has integrated its Google Now product, previously only found in Android’s post-Jelly Bean releases, into its Google Search iOS app. Google Now is designed to present you with information before you ask for it, tracking packages, flights, traffic, weather, sports, concerts, and dozens of other pieces of information. One limitation of the iOS release is that it is still app-based and does not carry the advantage of being baked-in as it is with Android. This upgrade to the iOS app could be the first in a series of moves to make predictive search ubiquitous on mobile devices.
Google Now took direct aim at Siri last night during the Grammy’s with an advertisement that showed users around the world making use of the new service. Google Now is a response to Siri, but instead of taking on the voice-recognition features directly Google Now focuses on providing useful information instantaneously in one place. It works through the power of Google’s massive database; it analyzes everything Google knows about where you are, your schedule, who you’re with at that time, etc., and feeds back relevant information based on these variables. For instance, if there’s traffic on the highway I use to commute to work, Google Now will let me know to leave a few minutes early.
Though there’s no direct mention of voice-activated interaction in the advertisement, Google Now ostensibly does precisely what Siri is advertised to do, only more effectively and though a slicker interface. Whereas Google Now can keep your day on track by giving you transit updates and the best time to leave based on this information, Siri can, at best, direct you to the app store to buy a good transportation apps. In brief, this is a developing battle, and the heartfelt ad that aired during the Grammy’s took direct aim at Siri’s functionality. And if it’s anything to go by, this will be a large part of the ongoing back and forth between iOS and Android devices for the foreseeable future.
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