When introduced in early October last year, Siri, the charmingly servile personal assistant instantly bewitched every Apple fanboy. Moreover, just within a few weeks of its release, videos which showcased Siri’s amazing intelligence, and also its sense of humor, started going viral. Not only did this make loyal Androiders a tad jealous, it also brought a much-needed disruption to the Google-dominated search market. Soon, many journalists and technology experts started touting Siri as the next Google; in fact, Eric Schmidt, erstwhile Google CEO, even went on to recognize Siri as a serious competitive threat to Google’s search business. Undoubtedly, the big question that’s been looming around for a while is this: should Google be worried? Are the search giant’s days numbered? Well, my answer to that is a big emphatic NO. In fact, I’d go on to say that Siri, despite having the potential, can never dethrone Google, certainly not in the search market.
Siri is cool, but Google’s still free
First let me say this, Siri is great. In fact, it’s a feature that can be regarded as one of the best technological innovations of the decade. However, before we get enraptured by its sassy intelligence, we must not forget that it’s still an Apple product. This means that, in order to have an engaging fireside conversation with Siri, you first need to buy an iPhone. Well, not just any iPhone if you may ask, you’ll have to buy the latest, the greatest, and the costliest one – the iPhone 4S. Google, its soon-to-be competitor, on the other hand, doesn’t need you to pay anything to search the web. Google is free, it has always been, and it will always be.
Google has a bigger reach
Let’s face it; Google is everywhere. From little mobiles to televisions, Google is a behemoth that even the mighty Microsoft couldn’t topple. Compare this to Apple’s reach. Agreed that it has stronghold in the mobile market, but again, is that a platform big enough for Siri to outmatch Google? The answer is No. Even if, let’s say, Apple were to bring Siri to Mac OS, Apple TV, and all its shiny products, it would still be too small a market to thwart a biggie like Google.
Siri, welcome to the Apple-only club
Well, let’s not forget that Siri, despite all its eloquence and resourcefulness, is still a product that is tied to the Apple brand. And, even if we were to assume that those who don’t own any Apple products would someday get a taste of the feature on other platforms, we would be foolish wishful thinkers. To use Siri, you’d have to buy an Apple product, a policy which will limit Siri’s reach to the masses. Furthermore, Apple, which is so famous for its pugilistic demeanor towards its competitors, would ensure that any Siri competitor, be it big or small, would have a tough time staying in the market.
Siri, a product for the classes
So, before we put the Apple’s new marvel on a pedestal, let’s not forget that its reach is severely limited by Cupertino’s legendary walled-garden policy. There is very little doubt that Siri is amazing; in fact, it has even more potential than Kinect; however, despite all its charm, the Apple-owned feature is still a product for the classes, and not – as Google still is — a product for the masses.
Image Credits: benmarvin