Will Siri ever really compete with Google Now?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 9, 2013

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is coming. It's actually right around the corner, in fact. And are you prepared? You should be. It's going to be all revolutionary and stuff. For Apple. Whether or not it turns the world of mobile upside down remains to be seen. But, as it stands right now, it sounds more like it's just going to turn the world of iOS upside down. Aesthetically, anyway. Whether or not iOS changes in a really big way outside of the visual approach remains to be seen.

Sure, we've heard rumors of some new features here and there, but so far nothing groundbreaking. There are already posts out there telling the world they should temper their expectations, and that's probably a good thing. You don't want to get yourself all riled up for no reason, right?

Our own Anna Scantlin posted her pre-WWDC iOS 7 expectations, and I have to say that I agree with her outlook. The truth is, even if WWDC is all about changing the way iOS looks, I'll be okay with that. I don't have any huge problems with the way that iOS functions, even if I do think they could ease up on their whole "One Ecosystem" rule. I think if the crew at Apple want to put the big focus on finally redesigning iOS, then they deserve the attention. Because iOS deserves to be aesthetically altered.

So, while I'm okay with how iOS works "generally," I do have some questions about the future version of Apple's mobile software. Questions, usually, that I've whittled down to just one feature: Siri.

Right now, Siri is just okay. Last year I admitted that I was using Siri way more than I ever thought I would, but the truth is I've all but completely stopped. And while I think I would have stopped using it anyway, eventually, I'm okay with admitting that I've stopped using it because I just prefer Google Now.

And, here's the thing: I don't even use it on iOS. I think it's a cool idea, but the limitation to not have it actually notify me of things severely limits the attraction for the app. For me, at least. I still have it installed, and I still check it from time to time, but you really do get to see how great Google Now is on Android, and why Siri pales in comparison.

But since Google Now is on my phone in general, and I do have access to it when I want it --even without its precognitive abilities-- I've just given up on Siri altogether. Plus, being able to open Google Maps from within Google Search is just amazing. I know I've made it clear that I love, almost depend, on Google's apps on my iPhone, but Google's just making it easier.

Which is why I wonder if Apple is either going to put a huge focus on Siri, and just give her a whole suite of new features, or if they're going to let the software just tread water and fade into the night. With Google Now actually present on iOS, I hope it's the former of the two options, because I'd like to see Apple truly revolutionize the software, and pack it with accessible information, maybe from iCloud.

Oh, and I want Siri to be able to control third-party applications, like Spotify. That'd be great. I hate when she tells me, almost sarcastically, that she can't skip to the next song because I'm "not playing any music." Hey, Siri? Don't argue with me. Geez.

So tell me what you think they are going to do with Siri. Do you even think it's a good enough feature to warrant any new attention? Or do you think Apple will just hope users are okay with more advanced voice commands? Do you think Siri can eventually compete with Google Now? Let me know!

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