Eric Schmidt tells senators that Siri could be a "threat" to Google

Eric Schmidt tells senators that Siri could be a
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has seen the future of search, and he is afraid that it might just be a disembodied voice. Responding to follow-up questions written by U.S. senators on the anti-trust committee following a September hearing, Schmidt calls Apple's voice activated personal assistant Siri a "significant development" that could overtake Google's search engine in the future. Writing about Siri, Schmidt said, "Even in the few weeks since the hearing, Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S." The executive noted how two publications have called Siri a "Google-Killer" and the first step by Apple to enter the search business.

Schmidt admitted that he was wrong back in September 2010 when he said that both Apple and Facebook did not pose a threat to Google's search business. He wrote, "My statement was clearly wrong. Apple’s Siri is a significant development—a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search." He added that Google has plenty of competition and that sometimes new competitiors are overlooked. He pointed out that Google competes against other search engines like Yahoo and Bing, specialized search engines like WebMD, Kayak and eBay, social networks like Twitter and Facebook, commercial software firms like Apple and Microsoft, third party apps and navigational tools.

In communicating with an anti-trust committee, it obviously makes sense for Schmidt to make Google sound like just another competitor in the searchh industry, and not a possible monopoly. He states, "By investing smartly, hiring extremely talented engineers, and working very, very hard (and with some good luck), Google has been blessed with a great deal of success." Google current controls 65% of U.S. search inquiries, 94% in Europe and 97% of smartphone searches.

source: AppleInsider



1. toaster

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2011

I will be convinced of that when people stop saying "Google that" and say "Siri that" instead. Then again, Schmidt didn't really elaborate on what timeline he meant... it could be 20 years.

2. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

If I were him, I'd be more worried if Apple let you search Siri via typing as well. I just can't see a situation, in public, where I'd rather ask a question vocally rather than typing it in, for privacy reasons as well as respecting other people.

3. bossmt_2

Posts: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 2009

THis is like AT&T talking about how bad their network is when they needed to buy AT&T. Google doesn't to get split up like Microsoft so they're gonna say the Siri is a huge threat. It's all legal posturing. Nothing will ever really be a big threat to Google at least not for the foreseeable future.

9. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"It's all legal posturing." +1. It is definitely posturing before a congressional committee. Google has a huge lead in Internets search. If they sat on their laurels, maybe competitors could catch up with them in say, 5 years or so. I don't see Google resting on their laurels. If Siri really is a competitive threat, expect enhancements to Google Voice or an acquisition in the near future. In any event, it will be a good time to be an Android handset owner, cause Google is going to use innovation to increase their market lead. Sorry, Apple fans, but the leapfrog effort that Google released with ICS is going to happen again real soon.

19. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Agreed! Google is not the kind of company that sits and waits to be destroyed, One of the person that called Siri A Google Killer actually said Apple killed Rim, This argument Is debatable because the Market Share that has being severally expanded Is android not apple So Android Killed Rim (Lets Be Honest Rim Actually hanged itself). Google is just trowing a scapegoat so apple has to deal with the feds while they consider their options, I could see follow ups demanding to know how apple decides what page info to display or if it could lead to certain preferences and other laws, Google has a vast experience in that

57. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

@proto. No one said that google is sitting ducks. They're very aggressive in copying what the next big thing is with Apple devices, lol. Apple killed RIM, because there are substantial reports that point out that Blackberry users have switched and are switching to the iphone. Android users are mostly nokia/symbian users who hate Apple, lol. So android does not have a significant number of blackberry converts. Google is not throwing a scapegoat, you are. Making excuses for google. Android is an iOS knock off. Always remember that. Who did Steve call the traitor again?

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Completely Agree.. its all "absolute worst case scenario" to make them look like they arent in the strong position they are in. Its just like when ATT kept trying to convince us they would fail as a company and not roll out LTE to any real capacity without the Tmobile merger... yet here they are launching LTE.. lol. Siri is no threat to google. Siri and voice commands are neat but in reality few people use them (i do all the time but i know im one of few). Its probably going to be another 3-5 years before we start seeing a large portion of users actually using voice commands regularly... thats how I feel anyways. And thats probably going to be as much about voice commands to the car while your driving as it is in any other device. On a side note, I had no idea they only controlled 65% of the US search.. lol.. i thought it was closer to like 75-85%.. lol

46. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

You have Google's limited voice commands. Maybe if you had Siri you'd use them a lot more. Siri is way ahead of Google's offering. Funny how this article flies in the face of all your arguments and here you are disputing your beloved leaders words.

47. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

taco, could you be a bigger idiot?? seriously If you learned to read, you would see where I said "in reality few people use them (i do all the time but i know im one of few). " Hense, I use voice commands very regularly. Siri is nothing special. It is an evolution of the system yes, but its not breaking ground. Instead of having 1 way per command it recognizes multiple. Its not magic, its not some secret apple nonsense.. its simply the programming having more key words to chose from. Its an evolution of the system. Good? yes.. "way ahead"? nope.. thats just your fanboy nonsense.. like normal. unlike you, i dont hold some undying loyalty to a corporation. He is not my beloved leader. Speaking of which, dont you have a grave to go cry at?

53. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Hahaha! "Grave to go cry at." I loved that part.

60. tluv00

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 18, 2007

The thing I find interesting is that Siri basically adopts a standard voice command model but adds in the ability to reply by voice just like the same technology we bitch and moan about when trying to call our bank, or mobile carrier or insurance carrier or whomever. Most of us always end up screaming about wanting to speak to a human in the end anyways. Something about having a conversation with my cell phone about where to find food, or gas or anything doesn't appeal to me. Sure I use voice commands with my phone and for search but I have never once thought "man I really wish this thing would talk back to me". It's not a safety feature, it doesn't improve ones ability to search and it doesn't have the ability to find new places to go. IMO it's just bells and whistles but again to each his/her own.

64. jamrockjones

Posts: 345; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

"In communicating with an anti-trust committee, it obviously makes sense for Schmidt to make Google sound like just another competitor in the searchh industry, and not a possible monopoly." Google has their hands in everything! They aren't stupid. They're going to say what they need to in order to avoid any law suits or restrictions for monopolizing, which is essentially what they're doing.

4. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Interesting. Now pls don't write foolish comments, Fandroids and also apple's rude fanboy's. Althought it's mostly the fandroids that annoys me they're everywhere. Read my comment on "Is apple testing Siri for the iphone 4" I don't wanna copy paste

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Gee, did taco get banned and return as the tacohunter?

8. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Nope, but taco50 is indeed sometimes a jerk. But most people are even worse then taco50. I'm not an apple fan boy btw or a heavily android user. And you're to quick with a respond, that means you didn't read anything at all.

11. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"And you're to quick with a respond, that means you didn't read anything at all." Or, I read fast enough. Lets see if the real taco joins the discussion.

13. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

What do you think of Android, ios and wp? Pls your personal oppinion Right now siri is alrdy rly good. And it's beta. I don't think google can come up with something better now. there is 40 years of developpement in Siri. Ask siri to tell a story and you know what I mean.

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

My personal opinion is that each operating system has its adherents. There seem to be more users of Android than iOS or WP7 combined. I wish iOS the best of luck because new iOS developments seem to drive Android to ever greater accomplishments. Many of the 40 years of development behind Siri were the result of a DARPA development effort. That knowledge is arguably in the public domain, should Apple attempt to assert some exclusivity over Siri. IF Siri starts to make inroads on the Google ecosystem, I expect Google to turn on the development effort just like what was done with ICS.

15. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

I personally think differently. you say android is better than iOS and wp combined. I like android for the reason it's great to customise with widgets and all other things. But you don't get a full 2.0 update on an android device. Apple is awesome cuz it's inovating, and user friendly. I know you can say they're slow with some things, you guys say copied this copied that. But there are also some things android copied. apple (2007) android (2008) about Siri, we'll see what google has in mind xD hopefully if they succeed integrating something similiar and even better then i'm impresssed and I'll buy an android device. (maybe)

23. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I personally Belibe it will get mixed with Android @ Home (Motorola Purchase) I could see an assistant that goes around all your devices (PC, TV, Phone Tab and other appliances) among other stuff

26. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

He said that Android has more users than iOS and WP combined, not that it's better.

33. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

He didn't say it was BETTER than either, he just said there were more USERS on android than on ios or wp7. I agree they each have their merits. For me android suits my needs better than the other OSs (that and I hate itunes, ran into problems with it when I was an apple user).

16. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Android is an amazing OS but it's very fragmented at the same time, also Google fails to realize that Apple is successful because of the content it offers (Rich App Store, iTunes for Music and Movies, and also iBooks) not because of Dual-Core processors, high resolution displays, and 17 MP Cameras. This doesn't mean I don't like Android but Google can certainly do better at providing better content. iOS is also very good but lack of customization and the iPhone being only one phone which they offer may not be to everyone's liking. Windows Phone is where I can certainly see a bright future for Microsoft. It's not fragmented like Android because of Microsoft's requirements from every OEM, and it also adds a good looking and useful UI where it isn't just pages of apps doing nothing at all. Also, the OS is filthy smooth like iOS when opening or switching from one app to another when it still runs on phones with single-core processors! Give it some time for the Marketplace to grow and it will certainly become a powerful competitor on par with Android and iOS. That is my opinion, I personally would like to own the best smartphone from every mobile OS. Also, I don't think we'll be seeing any Motorola Windows Phones because of Google buying Motorola Mobility.

18. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Muh, I think Google got that note last year. They have been really busy developing content for android. Books, then movies, music by the cloud, and soon its own music service like itunes. ICS brings huge improvements for app APIs as well. Take all the great things about android, the good stuff from apple and WP7, smash it all together with a helping of stability, keep it open and not controlled, update controls to reduce fragmentation, and things we havent thought of yet... and I think thats where Android and the vast majority of new phones will be at next holiday season. (almost all of that stuff is already here or on the way with ICS)

20. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

I like these comments. Combined they're indeed very powerfull. I'm also pleased to see that apple isn't smashed for no absolute reason. Or that fandroids say there os is far superior.

22. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

You're right about Google having Books, Movies, Google Music and other stuff. But to me and other Android users around the world (Not the USA or Europe) won't be able to use all these new features because it'll take them loads of time to expand internationally. How do I know this? I live in Saudi Arabia and I can't even buy one app properly because paid apps aren't supported yet. Even Google Maps isn't supported in my region from the Android Market so I have to download an APK for it.

44. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

yup they've been really busy copying Apple as usual.

48. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

so hows that fake multitasking, voice commands, and drop down notifications treating ya, taco?

54. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

So google adding content, and making the OS faster and better is copying? You are not very smart are you?

34. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

While I agree that so far wp7 doesn't have fragmentation, the first phones released with the OS will not be upgradable forever. I would imagine that when windows 8 shows some deivces will not be updatable. Each OS will end up with fragmentation. Apple has it as well, the first 2 models have been shut out and with the latest update they have sorta shut out the i4 and 3GS (for Siri at least). Basically the faster the OS innovates, the more fragmentation there will be. Android is upgrading at an almost unsustainable pace so it has the most fragmentation. Apple is second and wp7 is third. BB will even be fragmented when they go to their QNX (or BBX) OS. It's just the nature of the beast, nothing will be supported forever.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.