We know Apple [AAPL] never entered the search business, allying itself instead with Google. Those days are gone, and I think its possible the all-new Siri personal assistant technology may become the future of search.
Siri is threat
The way I see it, millions of Siri users have been putting the intelligent assistant through its paces this weekend. Overall, people seem pretty pleased with how things have gone. They're liking how accurately Siri picks up voice commands in loud rooms; they're noting its idiosyncracies; and it is winning recognition as the best-in-class solution of its kind.
And I assume it is picking up data. I'm assuming it learns as questions are asked, I'm assuming its answers become more refined as it is asked to engage in various tasks. I would expect Siri to be growing its database of questions and answers every second of every day, learning from its users.
Siri isn't confined to a search for a Web page or article or link. It will get you maps, recipes, arrange meetings, send messages and much more. Siri will eventually become the essential companion for every iPhone 4S user. And this is going to change the way we search online.
Why use a Web browser when you can speak your request, and have the information spoken to you? Why use Google?
Will Siri get everywhere?
Apple is expected to sell up to 25 million iPhones in the next few months. Eventually, for many, Siri will become the single main point of contact for the information they need. It will learn and grow.
Now imagine Siri on your iPad -- that's not hard to do, right? On your iPod touch. On your Mac as a service within your Safari browser. Perhaps even on a PC as a service within your Safari browser.
Now you never need to use Google.
You just talk to your device and ask Siri to take you where you want to go. Sure, this isn't search the old-fashioned way. This is search where it counts. This is search and the Internet being used as a trans-device unified communications and query tool.
There are other potential challengers to Siri. But Apple's solution already has millions of users, and works. Google has its own solutions for this, but these don't seem anywhere near as evolved. Siri is a contender.
If I'm right and Apple chooses to follow this path, then I'd argue that Google may see many active Web users migrate from its search services to Apple's Siri. Which will hurt.
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