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For Google, the future is "Now"Google is giving Apple's Siri personal digital assistant competition with a new search app for iOS that integrates the Google Now's voice recognition and predictive search. CNET's Dan Farber and Seth Rosenblatt have the Inside Scoop.
-Search is undergoing a lot of big changes lately. Google is still the big leader with more than 67% market share in the U.S. but things are moving from the desktop to mobile and wearable devices and the game is getting more wide open. Now, Google just announced that Google Now, it's a voice search, would be available on Apple's iOS. I'm Dan Farber and I'm joined by Seth Rosenblatt who covers this subject for CNET. So, what is the significance of Google Now coming to iOS? -Sure. Well, Google now is a predictive search and a voice recognition app. It's natively built-in to Android 4.1 and above and it allows Google to not only do voice recognition very easily, very simply, where you talk to the phone, you can send text messages and stuff like that and it's very accurate with its recognition. It's also predictive search. So, if you have in your calendar, for example, a plane trip from San Francisco to New York, it will tell you, you know, what the traffic is like on the way to the airport before you even ask for it. In New York it will have hotels listed if you don't have one built into your calendar. If you're into sports, it will recognize that you are in San Francisco [unk] Giants scores or the 49ers scores. -So, basically, where do you think Google Now, Siri. -Uh-hmm. -There's another one [unk] that came out of Latin America. Where are these all heading? Because you don't see a lot of people talking to the desktop. -Uh-hmm. -You don't see a lot of people necessary talking to the phones at this point. -Sure. Well, I think, one of the very interesting developments that's going on is with Google Glass. The ability for Google and these other services to recognize what you say as you're speaking with a very little lag time, means that devices where you're no longer holding it in your hand, where it's something that's just worn on your clothing or worn on your face. I think it's a real game changer. If you don't have to pull out your phone out of your pocket, that means you're basically leaving with the computer instead of interfacing with the computer in a more cold way. -Now, we kind of talked about, you know, all the predictive-- -Uh-hmm. -solutions and answers they can give you but what are the limitations at this point? -Well, at this point, Google would say that the limitations, I think, are fairly significant. Although, they have told us that there is-- that in the past year alone, the first year of Google Now, they've made 15% to 35% increase in improvement in voice recognition. So, they clearly see the glass does not even being anywhere near half full and they are clearly going full speed ahead with this. It's also very notable that Larry Paige last week, in the earnings' call, brought up the fact that Google Now is a big thing for them. He didn't talk about much else. He talked about Google Glass, he talked about some of the other projects that they're working on, Google Fiber. But the fact that he call Google Now, not Chrome and none of the any other services that they're working on, indicates that the voice recognition and the predictive search of Google Now is extremely important for the company. -And this is all kind of tied into what Google has called a Knowledge Graph, which is trying to identify all these entities so to speak, should I? -Sure. -And understands when you say King, -Yup. -to try to figure out the context about what kind of King do you mean? -Right. Whether you're talking about the kings of sports team or whether you're talking about the king of Thailand or whomever, you know, King Street. There's a lot of different ways that that can be interpreted. Another big problem that they are wrestling with is accents. You know, the ability for the Knowledge Graph to recognize what you're saying and what that means when you're speaking with a different inflection than what could be described as standard American English. -So, the glass is half full. -I think Google would say the glass isn't even anywhere near half full. -What about Siri? Just to finish up. -Sure. Well, what Apple is doing with Siri is slightly different. So far, it's pretty much limited just to voice recognition. But it does have different integration with the phone, where you can jostle the phone and get Siri to activate. You can also just say, you know, hey, Siri and Siri will activate. So, that kind of technology has-- Google hasn't yet put directly into its Android systems. But honestly, if they announced that in a few weeks at Google I/O, I wouldn't be surprised. -Okay. Thanks, Seth. -Thank you, Dan. -For CNET, I'm Dan Farber. Thanks for watching.