- Last Updated: 2:57 PM, August 9, 2012
- Posted: 12:08 AM, August 9, 2012
The kids are fighting in the sandbox again — and this time the spat between Apple and Google is getting Siri-ous.
A day after it was revealed that Apple kicked Google’s YouTube off its iOS 6, the search giant kicked back — taking aim at the tech titan’s voice-activated phone assistant, Siri, by launching a rival service.
The service, called GoogleNow, has been available on Android-powered phones for awhile — but will be available for the iPhone and iPad in the next couple of days, Google said yesterday.
“Often the most natural way to ask a question is by asking aloud,” wrote Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search, in a blog post yesterday. “So we’ve combined our speech recognition expertise, understanding of language and the Knowledge Graph so that Voice Search can better interpret your questions and sometimes speak the answers back as full sentences.”
Google has been developing voice technology for years, but Apple was the first to launch a voice-controlled interface, Siri, to command its iPhone.
Siri was the one of the main attractions of the iPhone 4S, and has since been the focus of a celebrity-filled marketing campaign, most recently with Martin Scorsese promoting the feature.
However, Siri is still in beta mode, and Apple’s commercials have been accused of embellishing the service’s capabilities. There have even been lawsuits claiming Siri does not perform in real life the way it does in ads.
Most industry observers credit Google with developing superior speech technology, and the search giant could exploit Siri’s shortcomings.
“How’s that Siri working out for you?” asked Colin Gillis an analyst with BGC Partners. “You don’t compete with Google search, so Apple was so clever and jumped the gun by doing voice search — the next evolution.
“But,” Gillis added, “there are a couple of problems: Siri’s not working so great and any pros were pretty short lived because Google is rocking and rolling with GoogleNow.”
The platform wars have been heating up between Apple and Google with both companies’ latest software.
Apple no longer builds YouTube into its iOS, leaving the video service as an app that has to be downloaded or accessed on the mobile Web.
Also, Apple developed its own maps application that competes with Google Maps. Apple is slowly squeezing Google services from its iPhone and cutting the search giant’s ability to gather more data and target more ads, at least through iOS.
The phone friction between these tech rivals dates back to when Google decided to venture outside its search sphere and into Apple’s iPhone territory by developing Android.
Steve Jobs felt betrayed by Google’s ex-CEO Eric Schmidt, who sat on Apple’s board, and the companies have been hostile ever since.
Apple shares fell 0.2 percent yesterday to $619.86. Google closed at $642.23, up 0.3 percent.
“These guys — Apple and Google — do not like each other,” Gillis said.