With iOS 7, Siri Drops Google For Bing, Also Gains Twitter Search

Apple's new iOS 7 mobile operating system officially rolled out today, and with it, the Siri assistant is finally out of beta. The most significant change to Siri is arguably that it no longer taps into Google for searches. As expected, a deal with Microsoft now makes Bing the default in Siri. Twitter also gets a new place within the tool. Supporting Role, Not Starring Role, For Bing After last year's disaster of iOS 6 switching from Google Maps to Apple's own maps, Apple might perhaps be downplaying this latest Google swap-out. If you visit the Siri page at Apple, there's no mention of Bin [...]

Apple Takes Siri Out Of Beta

9to5mac.com reports Apple has quietly taken the beta label off of their voice search feature, Siri. If you look at the iOS 7 Siri, the page makes no mention of beta anymore. The old iOS 6 version had the beta label on it, but iOS 7 Siri has removed that label. Here is the iOS 7 Siri page: Here is the old iOS 6 Siri page: About two years ago, we reported on some controversial issues with Siri related to Siri not being able to find abortion clinics. Back then, Apple gave the New York Times a statement reading: “Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of in [...]

Apple Siri On Google Glass: “That Glass Is Half Empty”

ok-glass-on-apple-siri2 The Verge noticed that if you ask Apple Siri about Google Glass, Siri will respond with some humorous responses. In short, if you activate Siri on your iOS device and say, "okay glass," Apple Siri will respond in a witty way. Above are some of the responses in an animated GIF, but here they are in text format. "Stop trying to strap me to your forehead. It won't work." "I think that Glass is half empty." "I'm not Glass. And I'm just fine with that." "Glass? I think you've got the wrong assistant." "Very funny, (name). I mean, not funny 'ha-ha,' but funny." "Just so you k [...]

Apple “Embarks” On Another Mapping Acquisition

Embark Last month Apple bought Locationary and Hop Stop. The point of the first was to improve the overall quality of local data for Apple Maps and the second was for mass transit information. Apparently, according to former WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple has made another buy for transit purposes. The company has acquired app developer Embark. The company offers free public transit apps for 10 US cities -- though its ambitions are global. Interestingly BMW was one of its investors. Key features of Embark apps are: Step-by-step trip planning Offline functionality Notifications (e.g. [...]

Apple Beefing Up Maps With Crowdsourcing, “Ground Truth” Hires

apple-maps-featured Apple Insider points out that Apple is hiring for dozens of positions in its mapping group. There are more than 80 positions that respond to the keywords "Apple Maps" on the company's jobs site. Among a range of other positions, Apple has been seeking "ground truth local experts" for various cities. Here's one such job description: In addition, as the blog explains, iOS 7 invites users to "help improve maps" by enabling a new feature called "frequent locations." Frequent locations will give Apple another (anonymous) method to verify business locations and other destinations by tracki [...]

Rejoice! Safari Is Once Again Providing Google Referral Information In iOS

apple-safari-featured Since last September, people using Safari on iOS devices and searching on Google have appeared to publishers as if they came directly to their sites, not via Google. Now, the problem has ended, with iOS now apparently having been upgraded to support the "meta referrer" tag. No, this doesn't solve the "not provided" issue, where Google itself may strip search terms used to find a site from the referrer passed to publishers. However, at least people should now appear as if they came from Google Search generally, rather than as if they were "direct" visitors. With iOS 7, Apple's new iOS upd [...]

HopStop Bought By Apple For Public Transit Data

apple-maps-square Hot on the heels of its acquisition of Locationary, Apple has bought transit site and cityguide HopStop for an undisclosed amount. It's an ugly site that has very useful public transit schedules, maps and related information. The value of the data to Apple Maps is obvious. HopStop launched in 2005 and evolved over the years into a local search site or cityguide to broaden its appeal. The core data and use case surround transit information, however. Like Waze (recently acquired by Google), HopStop also offers crowdsourced and real-time information on traffic, transit and delays. [...]

New Google Maps App Gives Users More Search Functionality & Navigation Features

Google Maps icon Google announced today the release of a new Google Maps app for Android devices, with iPhone and iPad versions soon to follow. According to the announcement, the new Google Maps app will include more search functionality and updated navigation features, as well as Zagat reviews and discount offers for specific destinations. Google has also created a tablet-specific design of the app for Android tablets and iPads. With the new app, users can find locations without typing by tapping the search box to see cards showing eat, drink and shopping options. Google claims this new search functionalit [...]

Tempo “Calendar Assistant” Uses Search Like Google Now

Tempo calendar app Smart calendar app Tempo announced a $10 million "series A" funding round this morning. The app aims to replace the native calendar apps on smartphones. Needless to say, that's a tall order. However, the technology behind the app is derived from the same US Defense Department (DARPA) SRI-led research that produced Apple's Siri and Yahoo's Summly, among a few other "assistant" apps and services. As part of the Tempo investment round, Norman Winarsky, VP of SRI Ventures, has joined Tempo's Board of Directors The original DARPA project was called CALO, which stands for Cognitive Assis [...]

Apple Makes Bing The “Default Search Engine” For Siri

bing-siri-featured One of the things that you might have missed if you weren't paying really close attention to the live blogs of the Apple WWDC keynote is that when iOS 7 comes out Siri will be able to directly search Twitter, Wikipedia -- and Bing. From a search perspective that's potentially huge news. I'm speculating that you'll still be able to ask Siri to "search the web" and it will use whatever search engine you've chosen for Safari (still Google unless changed by the user). However Siri is now much more a legitimate "search engine" with Bing as the index. Integration of web search more directly in [...]

When It Comes to Favorite Tech Companies, Google Ranks #1, Apple #2 & Facebook #3

Google Apple Facebook When ranking the favorability of tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook, a recent Washington Post survey discovered that Google trumps both Apple and Facebook. According to the poll, 83 percent of the 1,007 Americans surveyed gave Google a favorable rating. Apple ranked second, with a 72 percent favorable rating. Facebook ranked least favorable, with only 60 percent of survey participants giving the social network a favorable rating. This year's survey results are not much different from 2012, when Google earned an 82 percent favorable rating, Apple a 74 percent favorable rating and Faceboo [...]

Mystery Solved: Why Mobile Safari Searchers Appear To Come “Direct” To Sites Rather Than Via Google

Mobil Safari Icon Since September, people using Safari in iOS 6 and searching on Google have appeared to publishers as if they've come directly to their sites, as opposed to having been driving by search. At last, the reason behind the Dark Google cut-off of data has been found: mobile Safari doesn't support the "meta referrer" tag. I know. Publishers who have been closely watching this situation are probably thinking that the reason was already known. It was Google Secure Search, and how Google's change to that back in October 2011 to withhold search terms means anything using that system will have sea [...]

Potential iOS Market For Google Now Is 2.5X Larger Than Android “Now” Base

Google Now for iOS Image 2 Google Now for iOS and Android are almost identical in their look at feel. And aside from a few "cards," the same is true of their content. But, there are some differences behind the scenes worth noting: one of them is the fact that with its launch on iOS this morning, Google Now is available to roughly 2.5 times more people than it is on Android. Google Now for Android is only available on those devices that feature Jelly Bean 4.1 or 4.2 (4.3 is apparently coming). What that means as a practical matter is that fewer than 200 million people out of more than 750 million Android devices activ [...]

iPhone & iPad Users To Get Google Now, As It Comes To iOS

Google Now for iOS Image 1 Previously Android-only, Google's "predictive search" tool Google Now is now available for the iPhone and iPad. It's part of an updated Google Search App for iOS. Google Now for iOS had been anticipated since March, when Engadget discovered a promotional video suggesting it would make the leap. Until its release this morning, Google Now had been available exclusively on devices running Android 4.1 ("Jelly Bean") or higher. We've written multiple times about Google Now in the past. But, if for some reason you're unfamiliar with it, Google Now is the company's "search assistant," of [...]

Will Mobile Apps Be Google’s Undoing? (Hint: No)

mobile-apps-search-featured The New York Times offers an interesting story about Google and the competitive landscape of mobile. The headline is "As Web Search Goes Mobile, Competitors Chip at Google’s Lead." The central idea of the article is that while Google is used on the PC equally to discover information and to navigate to specific sites, on smartphones people go directly to apps such as Amazon, Kayak or Yelp. As a basic matter, that's accurate. However, quoting Danny Sullivan, the story also acknowledges that there's still a great deal of mobile search activity, which is dominated by Google. Indeed, accordin [...]

Yes, Google Says It’s Having Problems Listing iTunes Preview Pages

Apple Google Logos Yes, it is harder to find pages to iTunes apps in Google. But no, the company says, it's not part of some nefarious plot. Rather, Google's having technical problems gathering iTunes Preview pages, an issue it's working to solve. Google has confirmed the issue, saying: We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for. In particular, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts, said on Tw [...]

Apple Hiring ‘Ground Truth’ Managers To Improve Maps

apple-maps-featured If job listings are any indication, Apple remains committed to improving its iOS Maps app. As the iDownload Blog spotted, Apple currently has seven job listings for what's called a "Maps Ground Truth Manager." The positions are based around the world -- U.S., Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Middle East/Africa. The job description explains that these Ground Truth Managers will be responsible for improving and ensuring the accuracy of Apple Maps. The Maps team is searching for a manager for the team responsible for regional map quality and ground trut [...]

Apple Buys Indoor Location Company, What’s It Up To?

apple-maps-featured This weekend the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had paid roughly $20 million for a company called WifiSLAM. The company was an early stage startup that had raised roughly $1 million in angel investment. It appears to have had some ambitious plans, according to a company description on AngelList: We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based [...]

Will Google Now For iPhone & iPad Boost Google Search App Usage?

Google Now for iPhone & iPad Engadget spotted and has archived a promotional video that suggests the Google Search App for iOS may be gaining Google Now support. That support might help boost usage of the Google Search App, which barely makes the iTunes Top 100. Google Now No Longer Android-Only? Google Now is Google's predictive search assistant, which tries to anticipate answers to things before you ask, such as travel times to destinations you frequent. Google Now is available for newer Android devices but not for the iPhone. Late last year, after two months of delay, an upgraded Google Search App was approve [...]

Financial Analyst Affirms Google’s $1 Billion In “Default Search” Payments To Apple

apple-google-featured Last year the FTC asked Apple to disclose the terms of Google’s "default" search presence on iOS. This was part of the US government’s broader antitrust investigation of Google, which is now over. To my knowledge, none of that information made it out into the public eye. However, at approximately the same time, an analyst at Macquarie Capital estimated that Google was making $1.3 billion annually in paid search revenue from iOS devices. Macquarie speculated that Google returned about $1 billion of that to Apple as part of the agreement that made Google the default search engine on the S [...]

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