Life With Cortana, Microsoft’s Predictive Search Challenger To Google Now & Siri

cortana-600px Microsoft's new predictive search agent Cortana is finally becoming available to the general public. How does it compare to longstanding champion Google Now? After months of using them both, it's no contest. Google Now easily wins, in my daily life. But Cortana does gives Microsoft an important foundation in the predictive search space and puts it well ahead of Apple's own Siri. Welcome, Cortana Microsoft announced that Cortana would be part of Windows Phone 8.1 earlier this year. Developers and others who chose to install the Windows 8.1 preview on their phones have had access to Cortan [...]


Apple Maps To Offer Choice Of Google, Others For Directions

Apple Maps with Third Party apps According to Cult of Mac, Apple is doing something very interesting with iOS 8 Maps. It's giving people a choice of apps to use for directions. A GIF in the article shows that once a destination is located users will be able to choose directions from, presumably, any mapping-related app installed on their iPhones: Starting in iOS 8, users will be able to run a search for locations in Apple Maps and use either Apple’s own driving and walking directions, or switch directly to another app already installed on your device via a simplified menu.  It also shows users other mapping apps ava [...]


Report: Apple Accelerating Crowdsourced Maps Improvements

apple-maps-featured According to a couple of reports (Reddit and MacRumors), Apple has stepped up the pace of map-data corrections and improvements. The MacRumors report, from a couple of weeks ago, says that changes are being implemented weekly. The Reddit thread says they're happening nightly -- at 3 a.m. Eastern: Over the past month, Maps were being updated once a week (every Friday) for me, but now, that has improved further. Over the past few days, I've noticed an update occur every single day at 3 a.m. Eastern. At exactly 3am, Apple pushes out new data and corrects many of the problems that users had p [...]


Virtual 3D “City Tours” Coming To Apple Maps In iOS 8

apple-maps-featured One of the features in the forthcoming iOS 8 is apparently called City Tours. These are animated flyovers of various cities in Apple Maps. Mostly a novelty, they'll take users on a 3D tour of key buildings and landmarks in a city. Google Maps/Earth have allowed developers to create animated virtual tours of places since 2009. According to 9to5Mac iOS 8 City Tours currently exist for Rome, Stockholm, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Glasgow, Cape Town (South Africa), Perth (Australia), Bordeaux and San Francisco. Hopefully we'll see more "utilitarian" improvements to Apple Maps in the ne [...]


Big Win For DuckDuckGo: Apple Adding To Safari As Private Search Option

DuckDuckGo Featured DuckDuckGo, the search engine that positions itself as a completely secure and private search engine, is getting a big boost. Apple is making it part of Safari in the next versions of Mac OS and iOS as an option that users can choose. DuckDuckGo is now featured as an option that will be part of the new version of Mac OS X -- "Yosemite" -- due out this fall. From the Yosemite preview page, the "New features to protect your privacy" section that reads, in part: "You can also now search the web using DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track you."   DuckDuckGo also seems t [...]


Apple Drops Google For Bing As “Spotlight” Search Provider In iOS 8 & Mac OS X “Yosemite”

apple-spotlight-600 Bing has gained another win with Apple, becoming integrated into a new version of Spotlight in Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X "Yosemite" operating system and in the coming iOS 8 mobile operating system. Spotlight will also tap into a wide-range of search resources similar to how Siri works on iOS. During Apple's WWDC keynote today, the company shared how a revised version of Spotlight will allow typing on the desktop (rather than clicking on small magnifying glass in the menu bar) in order to search your computer for apps and documents. Beyond that, Spotlight is gaining search smarts that [...]


Google To Bring Always-On, “Eyes Free” Search To App

OK Google Chrome Extension One of the most interesting and talked about features in the Motorola-made Moto X is always-on voice search. Activated by saying "OK, Google," it permits totally hands-free search. Unfortunately this standout feature didn't sell enough handsets to keep open Moto's much-touted Texas smartphone factory. The "hotword" OK Google also currently works on the Google search app for Android and on Chrome on the desktop. The difference between these examples and the Moto X feature is the "always listening" aspect. On Chrome and Android Google Search there's an "activation" step; search must be opene [...]


Why Yahoo’s Not Going To Steal The Search Default For iPhone Away From Google

yahoo-featured Apparently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wants to be the default search for Apple's Safari browser on iPhone and iPad and has been preparing to make a solid pitch. Well, we all want things we can't have, and I'd be incredibly surprised if Yahoo got its wish here. Kara Swisher over at Re/code has the scoop, in her Marissa Mayer’s Secret Plan to Get Apple to Dump Google and Default to Yahoo Mobile Search story. Be sure to read that. Here, I'm going to share the incredibly tough list of obstacles that would have to be overcome to turn this from a fantasy into reality. Yahoo Has No Search Techn [...]


Videos: Comparing Cortana & Siri & Google Now

cortana-600px Today, Microsoft released the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 and with that, the ability to play with a preview of Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Apple Siri and Google Now. Both Gizmodo and CNet have released video demos comparing Cortana & Siri & Google Now. I like the Gizmodo comparison a little more, so we will post that first followed by the CNet review. Gizmodo has not made their video embeddable, so you need to view it on Gizmodo.com. Here is the CNet video: [...]


Apple Broadening App-Store Search With Related Keywords

mobile-apps-search-featured Mobile app discovery continues to be a challenge for most developers. Quixey (across platforms) and Google (on Android) are trying to address that challenge by indexing deep links within apps. For its part, Apple appears to be trying to broaden App Store search with related keywords. When entering search queries within the App Store, Apple already suggests related search terms. For example, when I enter the query "news" I also see the following search suggestions: news apps news channel 5 news 12 mobile ness radio news 12 newsday newsstand news channel 3 newspaper [...]


Better Data, Public Transit Coming To Apple Maps In iOS 8

apple-maps-featured According to unnamed sources cited by 9to5mac, Apple's forthcoming iOS 8 will see a number of improvements to its mapping product across platforms. The site says the next Apple mobile OS will offer: Better and more complete points of interest and business data Public transit information and directions (rolling out first to major US cities) Much of the discussion in the article is about subtle changes to the Apple Maps UI or functionality improvements coming with the new OS. Further out, says the report, are indoor maps and augmented reality:  "Apple has also begun work on augmented [...]


Apple Buys Ads On Google & Bing To Celebrate The Mac’s 30th Birthday

Leaving nothing to chance, Apple's ensured that anyone searching for "Mac" on Google or Bing today, the 30th birthday of the Mac, will know about the anniversary. The company has purchased ads that lead to a special Mac birthday area of the Apple site. Above is an example of what shows on Google, for a search on "Mac," an ad saying "Happy Birthday, Mac" and inviting people to "Explore 30 years of innovation on the Mac." The ad links over to the page at Apple about Macs, which has a pitch for the birthday area: The birthday area itself has a special video for the Mac's 30th anniversary [...]


Analyst Gives Both Google Now And Siri A “C+”

Siri logo Piper Jaffray financial analyst Gene Munster performed his now annual comparison of Google Voice Search/Google Now and Siri to determine which one performed better. Using 800 queries under a variety of "controlled" and "uncontrolled" conditions, Munster and his team tested and compared the two "assistants." Munster gave Google Voice Search/Now a C+, an improvement from the D- it received a year ago. Siri received the identical C+ grade, up slightly from a C last year. It may well be that Google Voice Search/Now and Siri have achieved some level of parity in their ability to understand a [...]


WSJ Report: Apple Buys Topsy, A Leading Twitter Search & Analytics Company

Topsy-Plain-Logo The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has purchased Topsy, one of the leading Twitter search and analytics companies, for more than $200 million. The WSJ report says that Apple has confirmed the deal but wouldn't comment more beyond this statement: Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans. Topsy is about the only decent third-party Twitter search service to have survived, in recent years. Google had a wonderful service for finding Twitter content called Google Realtime Search that died in 2011, when Google [...]


Apple’s App Store Search Engine Now Considers Misspellings & Typos

app-store-icon Sarah Perez at TechCrunch reports Apple has updated their App Store search engine to help with misspellings, typos and other "fat-fingered" searching mistakes. Sarah said she has "sources" that have confirmed these "App Store search engine changes went into effect a few weeks ago." One example I can personally attest to is when someone searches for [rusty brick] in the app store, normally it did not return apps from my company. Now it does. Here is a picture of the search results for [rusty brick] in the app store returning one of our apps with the name "RustyBrick" as one word. S [...]


Google iOS Search App Now Has “OK Google” Voice Activation, New Notifications, Reminders & Cards

Google iOS Search App Google released a new version of its iOS Search App today, with an extensive list of updates, including new notifications, reminder alerts, cards and a handsfree search activation feature. With the 3.1.0 version of the iOS Search App, those with the iPhone 4s or higher can say, "OK Google" or touch the mic to start a search. Along with the handsfree activation, the app can create reminders around a number of events. According to the app's iTunes page, users can ask Google to remember daily activities or upcoming events: Ask Google to remember things for you. Just say, "Remind me to buy [...]


Searching For The Voice Of Siri: Voiceover Actor Susan Bennett Says, “It’s Obviously Me”

apple-siri A story on CNN.com claims that Atlanta voiceover professional Susan Bennett is the original voice of Siri, Apple's iPhone voice application. According to the story, Bennett did voice work for the software company ScanSoft in 2005. CNN says ScanSoft was then purchased by Nuance Communications, a company that is credited with providing Apple the technology behind Siri. Bennett told CNN.com reporter Jessica Ravitz that she remained quiet about being the voice of Siri until now because she was unsure if she wanted the attention. "I really had to weigh the importance of it for me personally. [...]


The Local Marketer’s Guide To Apple Maps for iOS7

No Results Found Apple Maps [caption id="attachment_173073" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Shotland Estate[/caption] While the launch of iOS7 has received a ton of press and blogger nitpicking about every last detail, little has been said about how the new version of Apple Maps affects local marketers. I feel like most marketers are still ignoring Apple Maps because it got a lot of Apple Maps Sucks-type press a year ago. Well, I like to say that even if you think Apple Maps suck, you know what doesn't suck? The fact that iOS is well on its way to one billion installations. [...]


Local Voice Search Wars And The Opportunity For Businesses

siri-google-voice Since the official inception of mobile voice search with Apple's launch of Siri in 2011, consumers, search professionals and businesses have watched for the rise of voice search in local. Despite Siri's initial inadequacies and obvious voice recognition challenges, savvy multitasking mobile consumers are finally adopting the technology to find the best nearby restaurant, an urgent care center or a plumber in a pinch. Why? It's fairly intuitive, really. Many folks search on the go and can speak faster than they can type and need both hands free in this 24/7 world. As voice search becomes mor [...]


Apple Maps Sends Two Users Driving Across An Airport Runway

apple-maps-featured Despite some observers saying that Apple Maps on iOS 7 is better than Google Maps, that's definitely not the case for anyone trying to drive to the Fairbanks (Alaska) airport recently. As the Alaska Dispatch newspaper reported on Tuesday, Apple Maps has sent out-of-towners driving dangerously across an airport runway at least two times in the past three weeks. The turn-by-turn directions were specific, using the access route that general aviation pilots use to the East Ramp, which is on the other side of the runway from the main airport terminal. The map directions concluded by tell [...]


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