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.