Ever since the release of the iPhone 4S in October, Siri has been an extremely hot topic. The technology is going to revolutionize the smartphone industry as consumers that don’t own iPhones are going to demand Siri like capabilities. Android released a voice search function in response to Siri, but it cannot even be compared to Apple’s software because it is simply crap. It struggles to understand commands, and requires the user to speak in a very slow and controlled manner. Steps unnecessary when using Siri, the program is pretty mind blowing with how flawless it performs any task asked of it.
I don’t know when an app similar to Siri will be available for Droids, but it better happen soon as many people are switching carriers just to have such a useful feature. Nearly everything on the iPhone 4S can be controlled by Siri. A few examples are as follows:
- Call contacts
- Text contacts what you tell Siri to type
- Take notes for reminders
- Set alarms for whatever purposes
- Search the web
- Change the volume on your MacBook if you have the proper apps installed. I am fairly certain Siri will be able to change the channel on Apple T.V. once it is available.
- Ask Siri for directions
The list is endless, Siri is simply an amazing woman or man depending on your voice preference . It is pretty clear why Blackberry and Droid users have iPhone envy. Siri is the greatest revolution in the smartphone industry since the touchscreen was introduced.
Siri is great technology, but why does that effect Google’s advertising revenue?
This is where we understand the implications behind voice commands on a smartphone. Normally when someone wants to look for something online, in most cases they will go to Google. You would then type in the search query you are interested in learning about. For sake of discussion, lets say you are looking for a restaurant, “Best steakhouse Santa Barbara”. A number of search results would show up on your smartphone, with several paid for links that rank for the keyword thanks to Adwords. Google and the business paying for the Adwords location want you to click on the advertisement. The restaurant hopes that a paid location on the first page for that particular search query will attract customers, so they pay Google for the ad placement. It is estimated that over 60% of Google’s total revenue comes from these paid advertisements, so any change in the quality of service itself could be detrimental to their company.
This is where Siri enters the equation and is taking potential money away from Google. iPhone 4S users have the ability to order Siri to search the web for them. You could be driving in your car and say “Siri, find me the best steakhouse in Santa Barbara”, and the program will take you directly to the site it deems appropriate. So far in my experience using the application it tends to like Yelp for restaurant reviews. Let me repeat that, Yelp, not a Google search page with results for the search query. Siri will actually pick the restaurant it “thinks” is the best steakhouse in Santa Barbara and provide the user with reviews to judge for themselves. This turn of events does not bode well for Google. Any websites that are paying for advertisements on Google are being completely skipped over by Siri. There is never an opportunity for users to click or even see an advertisement if they are using Siri. Siri does not always bypass Google, it often uses the search engine to display possible results. However, depending on the exact search you request given, Siri can usually figure out the exact site you are looking for.For the majority of my tests I simply looked for specific services or stores near my location, but other people have been conducting other experiments with interesting results.
If Siri can answer any question given to the program, why bother searching Google?
As more people purchase iPhone 4S’ and start using Siri for the majority of their problems, Google will become a smaller part of their lives. Siri is akin to a live personal assistant, but even better because it has the backing of Apple’s database as well as the internet.
Mobile internet search is a very small percentage of the traffic Google receives each day, so the fact that Siri is destroying part of this market for Google is not necessarily going to be the downfall of the company. However, the innovation of verbal search and voice command technology could be extremely damaging to the search giant. As more users become accustomed to how much easier voice search is, and how well it works, internet users are going to want similar applications for their desktop and laptop computers. If 50% of all internet users turned to verbal search for any queries they have, Google could be in deep trouble. But, I am sure Google is already aware of this potential problem and are probably developing verbal search and voice command technology to match or surpass the services Apple is offering on the iPhone 4S. The next few years are going to be very interesting to be apart of.