Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Google challenges Apple's Siri by opening digital assistant to iPhone

Google challenges Apple's Siri by opening digital assistant to iPhone

These days, it's not unusual to find tech giants and their plucky startup rivals copying each other's tools and features - sometimes improving on them and sometimes just playing catch-up.

Google is providing the latest peek at its digital services and gadgets, initially offering a major focus on its efforts to extend artificial intelligence features into more of its apps and services. That echoes Amazon's Echo speaker, which was released earlier and so has had more time to acquire a wider range of abilities. For instance, you can ask the digital assistant within Home to turn on the dishwasher or set the temperature on the oven.

The Google Assistant debuted previous year on the company's own hardware, and Google has gradually extended the tool to devices from other manufacturers running on its Android operating system. This year, they've formally announced Google O (and its spin-off "lite" version, Android Go), new AI-enhanced visual applications such as Google Lens and the forthcoming availability of Google Home in Australia.

Aiming a smartphone camera at a flower will prompt it to be identified; while aiming it at a complex password and hotspot name on a router will let it automatically log into the wireless connection. As part of the I/O keynote, Google announced that it would be bringing Daydream compatibility to new third party handsets, including Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, as well as the "next" premium handset from LG. Pinterest has a similar tool too. Or point the camera at the exterior of a restaurant and it will pull up reviews of the place.

If you haven't taken up Tasker/AutoVoice/Assistant yet, this is a good way to get started. While this more prominently features YouTube, the AdMob network and of course, Adsense - the Google Play Homepage and app listings are some of the best pages to feature your app across the Internet.

Google's computer programs are gaining a better understanding of the world, and now it wants them to handle more of the decision-making for the billions of people who use its services.

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Google's assistant will be at a disadvantage on the iPhone, though, because Siri - a concierge that Apple introduced in 2011 - is built into that device.

The move extends the potential reach of Google's assistant, which debuted last fall on the company's Pixel phone and an internet-connected speaker called Home. You will need to make sure that your iOS device is compatible and supported by this feature, so make sure you look at the requirements needed before you download this free app onto your iOS device.

"Almost 70 per cent of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in natural language, not the typical keyboards which people type in a search box, and many requests are follow ups that continue the conversation".

Siri, though, might have something to say about that. We don't yet know how well Lens will work in the real world, but if it's anywhere near as competent as Google Photos' image identification skills, it'll be something worth looking forward to. The company envisions a world in which unbelievable photos are no longer left on people's phones because other pressing things in life got in the way.

Running the AI-powered Google Assistant, the voice-controlled Google Home lets users speak naturally to access a wealth of online services as well as listen to music and control smarthome appliances.

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