The move is being seen as a challenge to Apple’s (AAPL) Siri. Google has embedded its interpretation of the concept within the Search app that is currently available from its rival’s App Store.
It marks the first time that the program has been available outside of the Android platform, and comes at a moment when Google, particularly with the help of Samsung whose phones depend on the Android operating system, has been able to take a significant bite out of Apple’s share of the mobile market.
When Apple redesigned its operating system last fall, it eschewed Google’s map service, attempting to replace it with its own version. Due to a number of malfunctions, the software was seen as a failure, and is still commonly perceived as inferior to Google’s.
In a similar way, Google Now is not only a threat to Siri because of its availability on the iOS platform. The application also purports to offer features that its counterpart does not.
Google Now boasts the ability to predict the sort of information that a given user would both want and need throughout the day, effectively teaching itself user-preferences based on information culled from searches and other activity. The app’s functionality in its iOS version is limited, but still encompasses anything from driving directions to weather and traffic information to suggestions about what movie one might want to see on the weekend.
The release of Google Now comes as the company seems ready to settle its dispute with European Union anti-trust regulators. In response to criticism and formal complaints from competitors in the EU, Google has said it will more clearly label its searches so that users will be able to tell which sites and services are affiliated with the company.
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