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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Google App for Android gets a refresh with new shortcuts to frequently used features

Google has updated its beta app for Android, adding shortcuts for frequently used features to the Google Now home screen.
According to a report from Venture Beat, widgets for the weather, nearby restaurants and more appear when a user taps inside the Google Search box.
From Venture Beat:
If you’re on version 6.10.35 of the Google app beta, you’ll see a weather shortcut, which shows the location and temperature, alongside an icon representing the weather. It also shows widgets for nearby restaurants, Solitaire, “I’m feeling curious” (which shows a random question and answer), a calculator, nearby ATMs, Tic Tac Toe, a coin flip, My Events (which displays upcoming events listed in your Google Calendar), and nearby coffee shops.
The Venture Beat report says anyone with Google’s new Pixel or Pixel XL phone can swipe right on the home screen to display the shortcuts, which are updated based on frequency of use.
Venture Beat notes the app updates are not available on iOS

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Google expands Now on Tap to translate app screens, discover button & barcode scanning

Google has announced they’ve added a few new features to the Now on Tap service. Google Now on Tap lets Android users bring Google search features to any screen they are looking at with the tap of a button.
The new features include the ability to translate text on any page/screen, a new discover button to learn more about what is on your screen and a search by scanning QR codes and bar codes in Search by Image.
Translate with Now on Tap
Google Now on Tap now lets you translate text on any screen you are viewing. It can be within any app or webpage. Long-press the home button, tap the “Translate this screen” button, and it will translate it instantly for you. This works for phones with their language set to English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.
Here is a screen shot:

Discover button with Now on Tap
You can now tap the “Discover” icon with Google Now and

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The voice search explosion and how it will change local search

Alexander Supertramp /
Since I noted Timothy Tuttle of Mindmeld’s LSA16 comments about the sudden increase in the volume of voice search queries, I’ve noticed an increasing number of articles on the subject. If the attention being given voice search is an indication of its anticipated impact on the marketplace, then it’s going to be a big deal.
The potential for voice search to become a major search medium is well illustrated by the number of slides Mary Meeker devotes to the topic in her annual Internet Trends report that was just released this month. Out of 213 slides, Mary included 23 slides on voice search. And while the numbers on voice search growth vary quite widely, they all agree on one trend: explosive growth.

2016 Internet Trends Report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Explosive growth and the reason behind it
At LSA 16, Tuttle shared that within one year (last year), the use of voice search went from a

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

Alexander Supertramp /
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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Google Now, Microsoft Cortana & The Predictive Search World: Recap From SMX East

What will you search for next? That’s what Google and Microsoft are trying to figure out with their Now and Cortana products and, with all the data becoming available, they may know before you do. As a marketer, you need to be aware of these developments so you can improve the chances of your brands and products being proactively presented to people before they even know they want them.
That topic — predictive search — was the focus of a session by Cindy Krum, founder and CEO of MobileMoxie, at last week’s SMX East conference in New York City.
Because of Google’s dominance in the data collection and aggregation field throughout its Googleverse, Krum focused chiefly on Google Now, with only a brief mention of Microsoft’s Cortana, the predictive search engine on Microsoft phones.
Her overall premise was that Google Now is attempting to present answers to people before they even think to ask/search for them. The way Google’s reach and

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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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