Siri is Google’s nearest mobile search competitor [Report]

A new study from Fivesight Research, “US Consumer Search Preferences Smartphone & Desktop: Q1 2017,” finds that Siri is the mobile “search engine” of choice after Google. The study was based on a survey of 800 US adults split roughly evenly between iOS and Android users.
Google was by far the dominant mobile search engine, with an 84 percent aggregate share among respondents. Among Android users, Google’s search share was 90 percent. Among iPhone owners Google had a 78 percent share. After Google, however, Siri was named by more respondents as their “primary search engine” than Bing or Yahoo. (However, this doesn’t reflect query volume, just identification as the primary engine of choice.)

Siri was the primary search engine of 13 percent of iPhone owners. This finding is significant because it suggests the long-term, potentially disruptive impact of voice and virtual assistants on traditional “query in a box” results. It’s important to point out, however, that these responses reflect

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Why the future is all about PASO — personal assistant search optimization

Personal assistants (PAs) aren’t just digital assistants that can be used to perform routine tasks. They’re also the future of SEO.
Consider two of the most popular PAs: Siri and Google Assistant. People often use those assistants to retrieve information.
And where do you think those PAs get that information from? Somewhere on the web.
Here’s what you need to know about how PAs will shape the future of SEO, and why I’m calling this a new category, personal assistant search optimization (PASO).
They’re on smartphones
Personal digital assistants are great because they’re portable. The reason they’re portable is that they’re on smartphones (though they can also be in home devices, computers and any device connected to the “Internet of Things”).
Siri, of course, has been part of the iOS smartphone platform for several years now. Likewise, Google Assistant is available on the Allo app, Google Pixel and other Android phones and Android Wear.
Portable PAs give people the ability to use their assistants, hands-free, to

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Buying Viv, Samsung makes its “me too” virtual assistant play

Feeling intensifying pressure from Google, Apple and Amazon, Samsung has acquired virtual assistant Viv. CEO Dag Kittlaus, who ran Siri before Apple bought it, will continue to operate Viv “independently” but still work closely with Samsung.
Not content to rely on the Google Assistant, Samsung undoubtedly felt that it needed its own virtual assistant capability (It already has voice search). But like so many Samsung “me too” products and experiences (e.g., S Voice, Samsung Pay), it’s likely to fall short on the smartphone. Where Viv may shine and add real value for Samsung is on other products and smart home appliances.
Samsung understands correctly that virtual assistants will figure more and more prominently, not only in the mobile (search) experience but as a UI/UX across platforms and devices and especially in the smart home. (Viv can also be deployed behind chat/messaging.)
Siri was sold before it was able to fully realize the founding vision, which was to disintermediate Google and

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Son of Siri: Viv aims to go way beyond today’s digital assistants

Alexander Supertramp / Shutterstock.com
There’s a confluence of technology advancements that are dramatically changing “search”: mobile, artificial intelligence, big data and natural language processing. From Siri and Alexa to Facebook M and Jibo, voice UIs and virtual assistants are the future.
Ahead of its public unveiling on Monday, the Washington Post ran a story on next-generation virtual assistant Viv. Viv could be described as Son of Siri or Siri 2.0, with much more focus on AI and commerce. It’s built by the same people who launched Siri before Apple acquired it, including co-founder Dag Kittlaus.
Believe it or not, Siri launched way back in 2009 with the goal of advancing the search experience using a natural language interface and delivering actionable/transactional results rather than a SERP. The Post article uses the example of ordering pizza from a nearby restaurant to showcase Viv’s conversational-transactional potential:
“Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office,” one of the engineers said into his

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MindMeld Launches Voice Assistant 2.0, Says Voice Search Growing Dramatically

San Francisco-based Expect Labs, which previously positioned itself as a kind of “Google Now in a Box” or “Siri in a Box” for third-party developers, has changed its name to MindMeld. The company is also launching a second generation of its technology, which it now describes as a “platform for creating large-scale language-understanding and question-answering capabilities on apps and devices for any custom content domain.”
MindMeld CEO Tim Tuttle says the technology allows publishers to bring the power of virtual assistants and voice interfaces like Cortana, Google Now, Siri or Amazon Echo to their content, data and applications. One partnership being announced (but not yet live) is Spotify. Tuttle also told me that MindMeld is working with a large cable operator and government agencies.
What MindMeld has developed and brought to market is something like a 2.0 version of the old FAST Search & Transfer, which enabled better site search and content indexing. (FAST was acquired by Microsoft in

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Study: Siri Beats Google Now, Cortana In Performance & Overall Satisfaction

Contrary to some industry perceptions Siri is apparently not the virtual assistant laggard, but the leader. That’s according to a hands-on user study conducted by Expert Exchange.
Siri beat Google (Now) and Cortana in overall user satisfaction and across a number of specific tasks. Amazon Echo was not part of the study.
While the number of people involved in the study isn’t clear from the discussion, here’s the methodology as described by Expert Exchange:
We ran a survey asking participants to perform a list of commands on their smartphones. With these findings, the virtual assistants were ranked based on accuracy (whether or not the virtual assistant properly responded) and satisfaction (how happy users were with the way the virtual assistant performed the command) All participants were randomly selected, users were required to use Cortana, Siri, or Google Now.

Participants asked a variety of factual questions, conducted searches and offered commands to the three virtual assistants. Accuracy was measured and so was

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How Google Now, Siri & Cortana Predict What You Want

Google, Apple and Microsoft all have agents that want to be your personal assistant. But how well Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana can predict your needs depends on how much you want to share, how wedded to particular platforms you want to be and, in some cases, how much you actively want to help make those predictions happen.
Going Under-The-Hood
Ferreting out how these agents work is a challenge. The companies all have pages that describe Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. But those are generally focused on what they can do, not how exactly they do it.
There are various help and privacy pages, but those aren’t always helpful. Google Now information is, in part, spread out across a page for the Google App for iOS and another area for Android. Cortana has a nice single page on privacy but still lacks specifics on some points. Apple’s privacy page notes that it doesn’t mine mail for ads, but neglects to

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Baidu Upgrades Mobile Virtual Assistant With Local Commerce Services

Baidu has upgraded its mobile virtual assistant to incorporate voice-enabled local transactions. The virtual assistant, powered by artificial intelligence, is now known as “Duer.” That apparently translates as “Du Secretary.”
One translation of the word “du” I saw was “to study, to learn.” Phonetically, it also sounds like the English word “do,” as in to get things done.
Baidu launched its first virtual assistant in 2012 on the heels of Google Now. Baidu has invested heavily in AI research, which is at the core of the new assistant.
What’s new to the end user is the integration of local commerce and the ability to conduct transactions using Duer, such as food ordering and movie-ticket buying. Baidu will further expand these capabilities to a broad range of local “on-demand” services in the near future.
The new Baidu emphasis on local transactions, rather than knowledge retrieval (e.g., Wikipedia searches), was the original vision behind Siri before Apple bought the company.
The connection between speech-enabled

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Google’s iOS App Now Provides Context-Aware Conversational Search

Google recently updated its iOS app to bring context-aware searching to any content within search results. It allows searchers to ask additional questions without formulating entirely new queries.
Here’s how Google explains the functionality in the app update description:
Say “Ok Google” and ask a question while on any Web page to get smart answers about what you are looking at. Try saying “Ok Google, where was he born” while reading an article about William Shakespeare
Recognizing the context and subject matter of the original search or content, users can then ask ambiguous follow-up questions or use pronouns. In the example below, I searched for Santorini Greece. Instead of reformulating the query and identifying that I’m interested in Santorini hotels, I can simply say, “What are the best hotels there?”

This allows for a rapid succession of follow-up searches. I was permitted to ask a seemingly unlimited number of questions about the queries that I performed. For example, I asked roughly 10 questions in a row about Jimmy Carter

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Report: Apple May Launch Google Now Competitor At June WWDC Event

According to an extensive report in 9to5 Mac Apple is about to bring to market a Google Now and potential search competitor, with comparable “predictive search” functionality. Microsoft’s Cortana also features predictive capabilities that Apple’s Siri lacks.
The new capability, allegedly codenamed “Proactive,” is built partly on Apple’s acquisition of personal virtual assistant Cue (founded as Greplin), in late 2013 for an estimated $35 million to $45 million. Like Google Now and Cortana, Cue used emails, contacts other on-device content to present an overview of to-dos, upcoming meetings and other information such as flight reservations.
According to 9to5 Mac, Proactive will provide time-sensitive and relevant contextual information and become a successor to Spotlight search (although chances are the Spotlight name will be retained; Proactive is too close to acne medication Proactiv).
Beyond the above, the new capabilities will include augmented reality content in Apple Maps:
Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but

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