Google: Siri Is A “Significant Development” That Could Help Kill Our Search Business

Google: Siri Is A “Significant Development” That Could Help Kill Our Search Business

Google’s former CEO and executive chairman Eric Schmidt told U.S. Senators Apple’s voice-recognition system is an “interesting development,” suggesting the iPhone 4S feature posed a “competitive threat” to its search business. Schmidt’s written comments come as a new survey finds Siri drastically reduces the number of Google searches, many times to none.

Although the Google chief executive appeared on Capital Hill in September, a copy of his written responses to additional questions by the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee were released on Monday. Apple’s Siri was front and center among the topics Schmidt addressed.

“Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information,” Schmidt writes. A recent study of 40 Siri users by The Arora Report found 27 reported conducting no Google searches after obtaining the iPhone 4S voice-recognition system, while 13 had sliced the number of Google searches conducted to just two, down from a previous 10.

Much of Google’s income comes from the advertisements that appear alongside search results. If mobile phone users adopt voice rather than text for their searches, such ad revenue could be lost. Now available only on the iPhone 4S, the system could reportedly soon expand to the iPhone 4 and iPod touch. If correct, the growth of Siri could be a cause of more concern for the folks at Google and their search empire.

  • MarioWario

    I think Leo Laporte gave Eric Schmidt the argument. But 40 iPhone users shouldn’t be enough for statistic significance …

  • Guest

    lol

    u mad?

  • Andrew

    Aw shit we screwed.

    Time to release Android’s Siri knock off with full text ad display.

  • Guest

    (sp): Capital Hill –> Capitol Hill

  • Guest

    Just speaking from my own experience, I bought an iPhone 4S for my wife and she uses Siri all the time for her searches. She starts with Siri, but if the voice recognition does not understand what she is trying to find, only then will she do a true google search. Honestly, she has googled on the phone only a handful of times. All the rest, Siri. Just my observations of a woman who enjoys having technology but is not always comfortable with it.

  • cassandralite

    Hey Ed, didn’t it occur to you that Schmidt isn’t really worried at all–that possibly he’s raising Siri as a way to avoid the Senate’s referring an antitrust suit to the DOJ?

  • TheMacAdvocate

    At least one other person agrees with you. I wonder how many people can’t see this for what it is. Problem is, there’s enough stupidity in your elected representation to actually believe that Siri is a viable threat to Google’s dominance. Nice try, Creepy King.

  • Guest2

    What about Siri for the iPad?

  • mlahero

    That makes a lot of sense to me. I’m sure Google do view Siri as a threat, but more a convenient reason to avoid the antitrust suit against themselves.

    Good call.

  • ErinsDad

    As soon as Siri runs efficiently on all the clueless devices and people I need to deal with daily, then yes, Google is screwed.  Until then, I think Google will probably be OK.

  • Digital Pants

    Why is Schmidt such a whiner?  Could it be that he trying to do a deflection so the Feds don’t try to bust up Google?

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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