Google unveiled a new feature within its iOS search app in August that reminds us a lot of Siri. Taking features from its Siri competitor Google Now, Google announced the search app would now allow folks to use natural voice commands to make searches. For example, a user can “ask for the weather in a natural way and it will provide results,” Google explained. Google noted during its announcement that the updated app would be available in a few days. But, two weeks later…nothing.
After the announcement, Google told reporters the app was submitted a week before the event. So, Google’s updated app has been going through Apple’s App Store approval for three weeks. We have to wonder: What is the hold up?
A Google representative told ComputerWorld the company has not heard anything from Apple in regards to the app’s approval process. When Apple rejects an app, it usually explains what needs to be changed. It is not clear whether Apple is attempting to shun Siri-like features away forever or just taking its sweet time.
In 2009, you may remember, Apple rejected the official Google Voice app and other third-party solutions. The fiasco caused a probe to be launched by the Federal Communications Commission, but all was officially cleared. Apple explained at the time: “[Google Voice] appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail.” We wonder if Apple is moving to make a similar case for Google Now functionality within the Google search app.
Google Now was formally introduced in Google’s latest Android OS, Jelly Bean. Google Now looks for repeated user patterns, including calendar appointments and location, to provide users with more relevant information. I find it more useful than Siri and others have agreed.
It seems like a natural move for Google to embed Google Now technology in its iOS search app. With Apple’s restrictions on what Siri can do, it has resulted in other companies also building their own solution. Earlier this month, we wrote about Nina, a speech-to-text SDK, which can be embedded in iOS apps to understand who is speaking and rid passwords for bank accounts and more.
Of course, Apple is the only one that knows how long the approval process is going to take. It looks like we will just have to sit around and speculate for now. In the mean time, here is a look at the teaser for the new functionality: