Any second now, Apple’s iPhone 4S is going to be “real”. October 14 is the official launch date for the latest version of iPhone, and once it’s “out” people will be walking around talking to their phones, giving us all something new to be frustrated by and driving a new wedge between manners and technology.
As I told you when Steve Jobs left us last week, I’m actually considering moving from my nearly-two-year old Droid to an iPhone. And I like Android. A lot. And my issues with Apple are huge. The new iPhone is that good.
One of the cool features in the iPhone 4S is cutting-edge voice recognition and language parsing software. Or as Apple would like you to think of “her”, Siri, your virtual assistant.
Siri isn’t a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant does things for you, and knowing how to parse your words into search terms that can return relevant search results from the Internet stops far short of that. And yes, I have an ax to grind over misuse of the term “virtual assistant”, as we offer Virtual Assistant Services at Answer Guy Central. So please; as cool as Siri is, she isn’t a virtual assistant.
I actually made this point when Apple bought Siri about eighteen months ago, by the way. But what’s most interesting about Siri isn’t how uncannily good she is at understanding what you ask for.
It’s that Siri isn’t using Google.
In the face of new statistics showing that Google’s grip on the search engine market is getting even stronger, the folks at ReadWriteWeb point out that Siri goes out of her way to search the Internet using every tool she can before falling back on Google.
This could actually matter.
Since Google makes Android, when you use an Android phone, your searches are carried out by Google so long as neither the manufacturer of the phone nor the carrier from whom you bought it (or you) didn’t change that. And even on an iPhone, if you choose to search from Google, it’s Google that supplies your search results.
But Siri is a front end to whatever services Apple points her at. So far, that’s Microsoft’s Bing, but Apple could buy or create their own search engine easily enough, and create instant market share by pointing Siri at that search engine.
Business Change? You bet. Apple can control a significant piece of a whole new market, and you, the Siri-reliant consumer of their products, won’t even know what search service you’re using.
Of course, search is always a function of trusting the results you obtain, so this is far more important to companies like Apple than it is to someone who’s decided he wants to use Apple products like the iPhone/Siri combination and simply ceded search engine results decisions to Apple.
It’s also important to those of us who practice search engine optimization. And underscores why you should hire The Answer Guy to manage your company’s SEO strategy.
But mostly, it’s important to Google. Because Apple / iPhone / Siri is about to become the first real threat to their search engine dominance.