Google announced today that it’s going to update its apps on the iPhone and iPad with enhanced voice-powered search features that tap into the company’s Knowledge Graph.It’s very similar to a new Android feature called Google Now, which was first unveiled at Google’s developers conference in June.
As I’ve said before, Google Now is a lot like Apple’s Siri, but much better. It’s the way I always imagined search should be on a mobile device. With Google Now, you ask a question and you get the one answer you’re looking for. The right answer. Almost every time. And even if you happen to stump Google Now, your query will still return the same excellent list of Google search results you’re used to.
On the other hand, Siri has trouble with basic searches. That’s because it relies on Wolfram Alpha and a few other third-party services to get information. And it won’t be able to give you information like sports scores and stats until Apple launches its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, this fall. And even after that, Siri is still going to be pretty limited when it comes to search.
That’s a bummer if you’re still bullish on Siri. I think the core function of these virtual assistants is to intelligently deliver the answer you’re looking for. Siri isn’t as good at doing that as Google is.
So when Google brings its stellar voice search to Apple’s devices in a few days, it’s going to make Siri look like the dumpy beta product Apple claims it is. (Although you wouldn’t guess Siri is in beta based on all the advertising Apple is using to pump it up.)