Apple And Search: Now Is Google A Monopoly?

With all the talk about Google being a monopoly, the company is probably glad (at least partially) to see Apple make some search-related announcements during its WWDC keynote, which could help the arg...
Apple And Search: Now Is Google A Monopoly?
Written by Chris Crum
  • With all the talk about Google being a monopoly, the company is probably glad (at least partially) to see Apple make some search-related announcements during its WWDC keynote, which could help the argument in Google’s favor (even if hurting its market share).

    Should Google be worried about Apple’s announcements? Tell us what you think.

    For one, Apple’s web browser, Safari, is getting Chrome-like search functionality, while also adding Baidu as a search option. In fact, Apple is cozying up to China a great deal, as Google’s relationship with the country has grown anything but cozy.

    Last year, Apple made a huge impression on society with Siri. Now, they’ve made some improvements to it. With iOS 6, Apple’s forthcoming operating system due out this fall, Siri will likely take a significant chunk of search market share for things like sports, restaurants and movies, even while Google is improving itself in both sports and local search.

    And did we mention Siri is coming to the iPad?

    “Ask Siri about sports scores and stats, where to eat, what movies to see — even ask to make Facebook posts,” Apple says on its website. “Siri understands more languages and works in more countries. So you can get more things done in more places around the world. And most exciting of all, with Siri on the new iPad, on more devices, too.”

    On sports, Apple says, “Siri knows baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and hockey. Ask Siri for game schedules, scores from the current season’s games, or up-to-the minute scores from live games. Tell Siri to show you player stats and compare them against other players’ stats. Siri tracks team records, too, so you’ll always know how well your team is doing (or not doing). Siri is even smart enough to know whether you’re asking about the New York Giants or the San Francisco Giants, based on where you are.”

    Siri on sports

    On movies, Apple says, “Siri can help you find the latest flicks by location or showtimes. Can’t decide? Ask Siri to show you a movie trailer or a Rotten Tomatoes review. Siri is also quite the film buff: Find out when a film premiered, who directed it, and what awards it won. Or ask Siri which movies your favorite actors star in, so you won’t miss any of their past or future blockbusters.”

    Siri on movies

    Finally, on restaurants, Apple says, “With Siri you now have a personal restaurant concierge. Ask to find restaurants by cuisine, price, location, outdoor seating, or a combination of choices. Siri will show you a restaurant’s photos, Yelp stars, price range, and reviews. When you find a place you like, ask Siri to make a reservation through the OpenTable app.”

    Siri on restaurants

    How many iOS users will be turning to Siri before Google for a lot of this stuff? Apple says it has sold 365 million iOS devices sold as of March.

    With new Facebook integration mentioned above, Siri is only giving users more reasons to use it. The more people use it, the more they’ll likely use it for more things. Speaking of using it for more things, iOS 6 users will also be able to ask Siri to open apps. Apple is even working with car manufacturers on integrating Siri into voice control systems, with voice command buttons on steering wheels. I wonder if Google’s self-driving cars will come with voice search.

    As expected, Apple dumped Google Maps with the new operating system, as it has stepped up its game in the online search space. As Drew Bowling wrote in a previous WPN article, “The new iOS mapping service will come with a host of features that have become commonplace with geo-location services, such as real-time traffic updates and any upcoming traffic delays on your route. Beyond the standard array of features, Apple added 100 million different Yelp listings for businesses as well as a slick turn-bu-turn navigation not unlike what MapQuest has been offering with its direction service. The biggest Oooh-and-Aaah feature with Apple’s new Maps feature is by far the 3D renderings that are fully navigable and offer up insanely detailed pictures (dangerously detailed, some would say).”

    Apple says, “iOS 6 includes an all new Maps app with vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid. New turn-by-turn navigation guides you to your destination with spoken directions, and the amazing Flyover feature has photo-realistic interactive 3D views. Real-time traffic information keeps you updated on how long it will take to get to your destination and offers alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly. Additionally, local search includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals and photos.”

    A new report from the Wall Street Journal says, “Developers, about 5,000 of which paid $1,599 for tickets [to WWDC], said they were excited to try many of the new mobile software features—particularly the new mapping application. The service, which Apple has been developing for years, has a mode for viewing areas in three-dimensions, along with a local search service and turn-by-turn driving directions for in-car use.”

    That same report has a statement from Google saying the company has been “working on maps for years” and is “looking forward to continuing to build the perfect map for our users in the months and years ahead.”

    Google, of course, has some interesting new things happening with its own maps.

    It just so happens that Apple’s maps come primarily from a provider that has been in the business for years too – TomTom. The company issued the following statement:

    TomTom has signed a global agreement with Apple for maps and related information. No further details of the agreement will be provided.

    Yelp, one of the companies that has often voiced complaint regarding Google’s competitive business practices, listed the following Yelp integrations on its blog:

    • In addition to using Yelp listings when providing local business recommendations, Siri now has even more Yelp content.
    • When searching in Apple’s “Maps” both the Info and Reviews tabs will point you to millions of Yelp listings — and if you click on a specific review, you’ll be taken directly to that review for that business on Yelp.
    • Yelpers around the world will start getting Siri access thanks to Apple’s language updates.
    • Finally, Yelp is already integrated in navigation systems for BMW, Lexus & Mercedes. Now, you can get point to point directions & recommendations with those manufacturers, as well as dozens more with Siri & Yelp.

    Google’s Matt Cutts has been talking about it on Twitter:


    Siri seems to be chipping away at various search verticals. How long until it just becomes a full-on search engine, and the default search option on Apple products, at that?

    Back to that Facebook integration. That extends well beyond Siri. iOS 6 comes with deep Facebook integration in numerous capacities, in addition to the Twitter integration iOS 5 brought to the table. iOS is heavily integrated with two of the world’s most popular social services, while Google is still trying to get enough people to care about Google+, which the company has deemed its “social spine”.

    Facebook, as you may know, is already a huge competitor to Google in the social and online identity spaces. More on all of the Facebook integration here.

    Google stock fell on Apple’s announcements. TomTom’s jumped.

    Do you think Google is a monopoly? Let us know in the comments.

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