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May 16, 2017

Artificially intelligent Google Assistant could soon join Siri on iOS devices

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Pretty soon, you won’t need to choose between Siri and Google Assistant. iOS users could get the best of both worlds.

The artificial intelligence behind the Google Home speaker and Google’s Allo messing app could come to the iPhone within “days.” That’s according to an Android Police, which claims that Google Assistant will arrive in the form of a stand-alone app for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system.

Google Assistant, which the company formally introduced at its annual I/O developer conference 2016, is a contextually aware, anticipatory digital helper with support for third-party apps. It can walk you through recipes, place restaurant reservations, recap the day’s events, and find nearby movie showtimes. And thanks to support for apps like Uber, iHeartRadio, and MyWineGuide, it can summon a car, play internet radio, suggest wine pairings, and more.

It’s designed to be relatable. The Mountain View, California-based company recruited ex-Pixar animator Emma Coats to give the Assistant a personality — and a backstory. “[We] think of the Assistant […] as a conversational assistant — we want users to have an ongoing two-way dialogue,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said at I/O 2016.

Google hinted at an iOS version of the Assistant earlier this year, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “I do not think we have anything to announce,” Google product management director Gummi Hafsteinsson told Geekster, “but I think the general philosophy is that we would like to have the Assistant available to as many people as possible.”

Ok Google

And more recently, Google brought the Assistant to more devices. It came to Android TV, the company’s set-top box platform, in February, and launched on Android Auto in May. And in April, Google introduced the Assistant software development kit (SDK), a suite of tools that let developers plug the Google Assistant into any device that meets a base set of requirements.

The iOS launch comes as Apple prepares to bring its own AI-powered assistant, Siri, to new devices. The Cupertino, California-based company is reportedly prepping a smart home speaker ahead of a June launch at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). It’s said to have built-in controls, a far-field microphone array capable of detecting voices from across the room, high-end speakers with Beats technology, and integration with Apple’s smart home platform, HomeKit. It’ll support Apple’s in-home wireless streaming technology, AirPlay, and run a variant of iOS.

Rumors of a Google Assistant app for iOS also follows Amazon’s new Alexa Show, a speaker with a built-in screen and video camera, and Harman Kardon’s Invoke, a high-end stereo powered by Microsoft’s Cortana intelligence.

According to Android Police, the Assistant app for iOS could be announced as soon as next week, at I/O 2017.

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