In 2011 the world was introduced to Siri — your personal digital assistant. Siri works on iPhone 4s and forward. Siri lets you use voice, instead of touch, to make appointments, call friends, send texts, and much more. It is the “much more” that is particularly interesting, because this is exactly what a search engine does. You type in a particular request and returned to you are several (hopefully) relevant results. Google has been the king of search for nearly 10 years now. No one, not even Microsoft or Yahoo!, has been able to make a dent in Google’s search dominance. But that may soon change.
Siri could do “much more” such as look up a baseball score or let you know about the nearby dry cleaners. In order to do this, Siri uses partners to return outside-the-iPhone type requests. Siri’s original partners included (info provided by wikipedia):
- OpenTable, Gayot, CitySearch, BooRah, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Yandex, ReserveTravel, and Localeze for restaurant and business questions and actions;
- Eventful, StubHub, and LiveKick for events and concert information;
- MovieTickets, Rotten Tomatoes, and the New York Times for movie information and reviews;
- Bing Answers, Wolfram Alpha and Evi for factual question answering;
- Bing, Yahoo, and Google for web search (Bing as default since iOS 7).
However, Yosemite Spotlight will soon take advantage of many of these partners. For web searches in particular Bing is going to be the default (just like it was for iOS 7). Yosemite will begin to encourage people to move away from using Google search and to use Spotlight instead. The hope is that Spotlight will be much easier to use and give a much broader range of data than does Google search. Moreover, we expect the results to be in a much better layout so that more intelligent decisions can be made.
Again, what’s to emphasize is that Google will not be part of the search process. This is a huge second step in making Google irrelevant for Apple customers — Siri being the first. Sure Apple customers can still use Google to look things up, but first with Siri and now with Spotlight, Google is being left out of the process. This also sets the stage for someday Apple dumping Bing and using its own search engine to fulfill such queries.
While this may only seem like a bee sting on the bear, do not think Google takes this lightly. What happens when Microsoft does a similar thing for Windows and Surface? Going forward Google will still exist but most likely in a lessor role as people search for data using more intelligent interfaces than a web browser.
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