Did Google just admit Apple's Siri is the future of search?


I don't know if you saw The evolution of Google search video, which they've published a few days ago. You should, it's a cool movie, portraying the history of search and Google's vision of its future. But something went wrong. One of the punchlines of the video was a story from one of the engineers, who said that next-generation search engines will be able to answer complex questions such as the following:

"Hey, what is the best time for me to sow seeds in India given that monsoon was early this year?’"

A very legitimate question.

I don't know if you've tried out iPhone's new personal assistant, Siri. It's awesome in every bit. Not only does it have a state-of-the-art voice recognition, it's also packed with super smart artificial intelligence that supposedly allows you to ask crazy things things such as:

"Can you remind me to call my wife when I leave the office?"

Another very legitimate question.

And there's a strong resemblance there. Both requests are really abstract and probably require quite a bit of computational power to be understood by a program. They have nothing to do with mathematical or social ranking currently used by Google (search), they are all about Artificial Intelligence and semantic interpretation. And while Google currently doesn't provide (or at least market) services that would be able to understand such sentences, Apple does.

I've noticed quite a few articles saying concepts such as Siri are the future of search. It's obvious artificial intelligence will play a big role in this segment. Apple's already in. Even if their technology is not superior to Google's, who is also working on embedding AI into search, it's fully available today, and everybody knows it. Google should really be careful with such statements concerning their core business, Web search. Specially if they are competing against the marketing wizards of Apple, who know how to sell things even if they don't fully work.

Promoting a technology you don't have and your competition does? Stupid consumers such as myself might do something stupid.

UPDATE (5.12.2011): You can join the discussion on HackerNews.

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written 4.12.2011 16:21 CET on chronolog
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