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Apple and Google prepare to battle over virtual personal assistants

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple and Google prepare to battle over virtual personal assistants
The next battle in the smartphone world is coming and both Apple and Google are preparing for it. According to a report out of the U.K., both tech giants are hard at work improving their virtual personal assistants. You might know them better now as Siri and Google Now. Both companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to improve how each of their "assistants" comprehends the human language.

Unlike Siri, Google Now anticipates what information is needed by reading a users emails and looking at their calendar. Google feels it has an advantage in understanding real world language because of the way search results are ranked on the Google search engine. Google Now, which also plays a big part in Google Glass, will also be found on smartwatches, cars, and in the home.

Apple might have felt some pressure from the way that Google Now anticipates information requests. This could explain Apple's decision to purchase Topsy for $200 million. Topsy looks for patterns among the 500 million tweets that are sent out daily. Nick Halstead, the CEO of Topsy's U.K. rival DataSift, believes that Apple will use the information culled by Topsy to improve how Siri responds to requests for information.

"The reason we feel pretty good in terms of competition is because what we’re seeing and everything we’re building today is built on top of the foundation of core web search rankings...if I say, 'Show me the Eiffel Tower,’ I want pictures of the Eiffel Tower but, if I say, 'Show me the money,’ I don’t want pictures because I’m talking about the line from the Jerry Maguire movie. Google actually knows that because of web rankings telling us."-Scott Huffman, Google engineering director

With only 15% of iOS owners using Siri, according to a survey taken earlier this year, Apple needs to make the service more useful and predictive. As for Google, it currently is compiling a list of information so that when Google Now is asked a question to which there is no algorithm, the service will provide a direct answer instead of sending the user to a search result.

Both Siri and Google Now are relatively in their early stages and five years from now, both will probably be unrecognizable to today's iOS and Android users, and will probably offer features that we couldn't even fathom right now.

source Telegraph via BGR

25 Comments
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posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:31

1. mturby (Posts: 229; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


i have tried ALL the android assistant apps n they all SUCK. yes, they may not be that bad, but what i mean is: Those programs are NOT ready as they should. Keep working on them guys, you are doing good. but they r just...lets be realistic...they suck...

PS: never used Siri n never will.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:33 7

3. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


Wow, I never have any issues with mine it seems pretty spot on 95% of the time I use it. I honestly had WAY MORE issues with Siri, but I haven't used it for years. I have never heard some one go as far as to say Google Now sucks.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:45 6

7. ihavenoname (Posts: 1329; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


Both are good, though for searching definitely Google Now. Siri is very good nowadays and still has personality. GN for searching,Siri for fun. S-Voice is still slow POS.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 21:55

12. mturby (Posts: 229; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


the fact that u have to press the power button, unlock the phone (if no password is needed) and then search and press the app icon before u can actually ask the assistant to open the calculator, means: android go f urself

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 22:00 9

14. erod434 (Posts: 5; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)


Umm if you have any newish phone with 4.1 or higher you just swipe up from the bottom of the screen anywhere to get to google now. If you have the moto x or nexus 5 you can talk to your phone from anywhere and it will respond hands free (only on the launcher for the n5) so I think you should go f urself and get facts. Google now > Siri, get over it I prefer ios but it's not even close.

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 00:04 1

19. xfire99 (Posts: 446; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)


Do some research first and search for Google Now Always Listening.

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 06:41 2

24. lyndon420 (Posts: 1713; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Guess you've never heard of the Moto X eh? Always listening, never have to touch the phone bud :)

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 19:22 3

11. tedkord (Posts: 4504; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


The third party PAs I've tried are pretty bad, but Google Now is amazing.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 21:57 3

13. wilsong17 (Posts: 820; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)


google now its not a assistant or your girlfriend it just tell your info correctly or what you want to know

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 23:07 1

15. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3519; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


We can't forget about the new assistant "Cortana" coming in Windows Phone 8.1.. This is suspected to be very advanced.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:32 6

2. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


I wonder how Cortana will fare.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 23:08

16. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3519; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


That's why ⬆ was suggesting above...

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 23:15

18. lalalaman (Posts: 301; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)


Well ms said that cortana will be a fully working assistant as the competition is tight,they want something ground breaking for it thats why it is late in the competition.....lets see how it wil stand against two both.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:37

4. bucky (Posts: 1342; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Either way...it looks like we win as both need improvemnets

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:41 6

5. ihavenoname (Posts: 1329; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


Google Now= Fast, works perfectly, more boring than Siri
Siri=Works fine, not as good as Google Now, not as fast, but is funny and has personality and it's a icon
Cortana= Nerdy name, I'm not sure about how good it will be.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 23:11

17. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3519; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


No matter how good Cortana is, even if it's the best, I'm sure you'll nitpick it to death..
Also, Cortana hasn't been official revealed to be the final name.. But, I do agree that it would be better named something else...

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 03:46 1

21. ihavenoname (Posts: 1329; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


If it really is good I won't nitpick.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:43 1

6. darkkjedii (Posts: 10529; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I use both depending on which device I'm carrying, and both work great...although neither is nearly perfect. I hope these huge investments payoff for both.

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 17:57 6

8. Topcat488 (Posts: 1124; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


I have no problem with these Companies preparing for battle, so long as the "battle" is done in the R&D rooms, and not in the Court Rooms... Lets pay the Developers instead of the Lawyers this time... :)

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 18:08

9. HASHTAG (unregistered)


I personally find them all to be useless, as I prefer to do things on my own. :)

posted on 26 Dec 2013, 19:16

10. bwhiting (Posts: 161; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)


I use Google Now most of the time since I like the hands free usages with the Ultra now. I haven't used Siri but I like the personality that it delivers to people instead of just being silent.

If Google Now actually does that then it might be a bit better in my opinion than just a silent helper.

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 03:01

20. livyatan (Posts: 679; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


No one seams to have bothered noticing, but Samsungs S Voice has been vastly improved lately.
I prefer it over Google Now on my Note

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 05:33

22. mottykels (Posts: 367; Member since: 15 May 2013)


I prefer s voice than google now :P

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 05:44

23. superduper (Posts: 128; Member since: 20 Oct 2013)


Siri has improved a lot since the early days. I've used it for setting alarms, checking the time in another timezone, checking the weather, asking directions and finding service stations. Of course, there is lots more stuff she (it?) could know, and hopefully will in the future. But right now Siri is funny, easy to use and moderately clever. :-)

posted on 27 Dec 2013, 08:00 2

25. Ashoaib (Posts: 1447; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


Google, Beat the hell out of apple

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