Google just took a direct shot at Siri with a new virtual assistant for the iPhone

A version of Google’s software that reacts to the user’s voice, called Assistant, is launching on iPhones, Google said at a conference in Mountain View, California on Wednesday.

The app is free, and users can download it from Apple’s App Store. Currently, it’s only available in English, but Google says it plans to localise it in other languages, including Spanish, German, and Korean, later this yer.

You can ask Google to search Google, control smart home appliances, and track packages, Google said. Users can also converse with Assistant by typing, not just by talking to your phone.

It sounds a lot like Apple’s Siri, the voice assistant built into iPhones. Siri will always enjoy closer device integration on iPhones, but Google is hoping its edge in machine learning can make Assistant worth downloading separately.

Google said that Assistant was previously already available on 100 million devices before it launched on iPhone.

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