Google Assistant is in fierce competition with Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri -- all voice-powered digital assistants that many believe will change the way people interact and use technology. Google announced Wednesday it was bringing its digital assistant to Apple iPhones as part of its effort to win the battle with tech rivals on artificial intelligence. Speaking at an annual developer conference in Mountain View, California, Google CEO Sundar Pichai touted the company’s progress with the Google Assistant. The Assistant debuted last year on Google’s own hardware, and the company has gradually extended the tool to devices from other manufacturers running on its Android operating system.
Google Assistant, the center of its AI efforts, is in a fierce battle with rivals such as Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Apple’s Siri to be the top choice for use in smartphones as well as connected homes, cars and a range of other devices. Many believe voice-powered digital assistants will supplant keyboards and touch screens as a primary way that users interact with technology.
“Siri’s got company, and all these other guys are pretty serious about it,” said Gartner analyst Brian Blau.
“We are now witnessing a new shift in computing: the move from a mobile-first to an AI-first world,” Pichai said during an opening presentation.
“It is forcing us to reimagine our products for a world that allows a more natural, seamless way of interacting with technology.”
Those interactions, for Google, include using artificial intelligence to let people engage computers conversationally, have software anticipate needs, and let smartphone cameras “recognize” what they see.
“In an AI-first world, we are rethinking all of our products and applying machine learning to solve problems,” Pichai said.
Artificial intelligence is being woven into Google’s free Gmail service, used by more than a billion people, for features such as suggesting responses to messages.
For example, opening an email containing an invitation to dinner might trigger a prompt to reply “I’m in.”