On the heels of Amazon’s success with Echo and Google’s launch of Home, Apple is preparing a standalone virtual helper apparatus, powered by Siri, based on a report in The Information. The report says that Apple may also open up Siri to third party programs.
This latter purpose is the important of both disclosures. According to the post:
Opening its Siri voice helper up to program programmers that are external is the measure that is immediate. Apple is preparing to release a software developer kit, or SDK, for program programmers who need their programs to be reachable through Siri, based on someone with direct knowledge of the effort.
As I’ve indicated before, this was the first vision for Siri: an intelligent front end for third party services, trades and content. Yet, after Apple purchased Siri, it essentially left that dream (aside from some of associate services). Competition is driving the business to return to that vision.
The post mentions “an individual with direct knowledge” of the proposal that “Apple has been working on the apparatus since before the $180 Echo started in mid-2015.” Apple is compelled to create an Echo like helper for multiple motives. One of them is the smart house that is emerging. These standalone helpers become controls and hubs for other apparatus — part of a smart-house ecosystem. (Microsoft will probably be next with a Cortana-established house apparatus.)
Siri cofounder Dag Kittlaus, now CEO of Viv, saw Siri expressly as the successor to conventional search. One of his goals was to remove the awkwardness of the SERP that is cellular telephone. Yet with its statement of Google Home last week, Mountain View ironically comes the closest to realizing Kittlaus’ vision up to now. I say that due to the integration of third party services from Spotify, Pandora, OpenTable, Uber, WhatsApp and Ticketmaster.
Google’s discussion of the “Google assistant” last week was also quite important because it ushers in a new age of “conversational search”:
The helper is conversational — an on-going two way dialogue between you and Google that can help you get things done and understands your universe. It makes it simple to purchase movie tickets while on the go, to find the ideal restaurant for your family allow you to browse to the theatre, and to snatch a quick bite before the film begins.
In the occasion it’s not clear, search in the future is ambient or “ fragmented.” It’s less about individual apparatus (the PC, the smartphone) and more about constant access to advice and abilities across devices (PC, smartphone, auto, wearable, smart hub).
Search is also less about “the SERP” and more about meeting immediate and particular needs or goals — including transactional requests (e.g., reserve a rental car). This isn’t to say the SERP vanishes completely or that SEO goes away — I’m likely unlikely to use Google House or Echo to shop for (as opposed to purchase) an oven — but in the assistant circumstance, “search results” are drastically changed. And SEO becomes something rather distinct from what it’s now.
Apparently, the Siri SDK will be announced WWDC, at Apple’s programmer summit.[embedded content]
About The Writer
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Property. He writes a personal site, Screenwerk, around joining the dots between digital media and real world consumer behavior. He’s VP of Insights and Strategy for the Local Search Organization. Follow him on Twitter or locate him at Google+.
(Some pictures used under license from Shutterstock.com.)