It has only been a matter of weeks since the iPhone 4S was released but already it has made an impression on Google Chairman Eric Schidt. The functionality of Apple’s voice command technology, Siri, has made Schmidt admit that it is already a threat to Google’s search engine dominance.
He was speaking in September in front of an antitrust committee to defend Google over claims that it abuses its power as the world’s number one search engine and that they are rigging search results. These claims came from some of Google’s main rivals Bing and Yahoo, so take them with a pinch of salt.
At the hearing Schmidt described Siri as “a significant development – a voice activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search.” Siri, which was released alongside the iPhone 4S, uses voice commands to answer questions and complete tasks accordingly. This includes using its network connections to search the internet for answers which Google is seeing as a threat coming from a new piece of technology that could really harm their position at the top.
Schidt also commented on the advancement of social networking, how they are evolving into a big hitter in the search engine field, which came in response to earlier statements he made about Apple and Facebook not being web search competitors.
“The importance of social networking to consumers’ online experience has changed remarkably – even in the past year. Consumers are looking for answers when they conduct searches online, and social search has become a serious competitor in helping people find those answers online.”
Apple says that it has plans to expand Siri, with additional language support as well as bringing over some U.S. only features like maps and local searches at some point next year.
It will certainly be something that the people at Google will need to keep their eyes on but they have built up such a reputation as the biggest and best search engine that it will be many years until someone will be able to knock them off the top spot.