Apple and Google haven’t exactly been been on the best of terms in recent years. The stock YouTube iOS app disappearing is a more recent example of the bad blood between the two companies. Google tried its best to sherlock Apple’s 3D technology in the iOS 6 Maps app, and many moves Apple and Google make can be seen as direct outcomes of the bad blood Steve Jobs spoke of when he vowed to wage thermonuclear war on Android.
Apple and Google may hate each other, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t compete in the same markets. Today Google lifted the curtain on a major update that’s coming to its iOS Search app. The new version of the app will feature smart, contextual voice recognition that clearly mimics Apple’s own digital assistant, Siri.
As you can see, even Google’s promotion video piggybacks off Apple’s ads in which Siri is used to answer a bunch of questions and complete tasks.
You just need to tap the microphone icon and ask your question, the same way you’d ask a friend. For example, ask “What movies are playing this weekend?” and you’ll see your words streamed back to you quickly as you speak. Then Google will show you a list of the latest movies in theaters near you, with schedules and even trailers. It works for everything from celebrity factoids to the height of Kilamanjaro and more. When Google can supply a direct answer to your question, you’ll get a spoken response too.
Tapping a result opens a Chrome-like webpage inside the app. By using the personal information associated with your Google account, the app will be able to answer questions like “when is my flight” as well. Like Siri, Google is baking in contextual awareness so Voice Search knows who you are. The integration will obviously not be as seamless and full as Siri in iOS, as Apple restricts the level of system access App Store apps can take advantage of.
Google’s free iOS Search app should be receiving the update within the next few weeks.