Can We Get a Better Digital Assistant Without Violating Our Privacy? [Opinion]

AI, or artificial intelligence, is an old idea, but it’s still probably the most important technological leap that we’ve yet to make. We’ve been inching closer with things like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, but we are still so far away. As we inch closer, though, there’s an implementation battle happening. The question we have been asking for the past few years is whether Google will get better at design faster than Apple will get better at web services. I think the new question we need to wrestle with is, can Apple make better apps and services without violating our privacy faster than Google can do so by hoarding all of our information and possibly violating our privacy?
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So…Umm…Google Now was Released to iOS Today…Yep.

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Our inbox indicates that many of you are aware that Google released Google Now to iOS this morning. This comes as no surprise, nor does it interest us one bit. Good for iOS users. Welcome to the fun that is Google Now! Well, sort of. The Google Now for iOS will never be as powerful as the version on Android because Apple won’t allow it to be.

For now though, you can open up the iOS Google Search app and find some cards for flights or restaurants or routes home from work and even track packages and flight info from Gmail. But from what we can tell, it may not be able to update in the background at full capacity like the Android version does, which means no ongoing notifications for card updates. You’ll have to consciously open up the app to get Now goodies rather than have it dictate your life for you. You also can’t access Google Now through a shortcut like swiping up or long-pressing navigation buttons. You’ll have to open the Search app and then swipe up the Now cards to view them.

It’s really just an add-on to Google Search, not really the semi-stand-alone, ultra-powerful service that it is on Android. Well, until Google makes it that way – take the iOS Gmail app for example.

But again, enjoy, iOS users.

Improving Google Now [Opinion]

Google Now

Google Now is great at putting certain pieces of information in front of you before you realize you need it. A traffic report for your drive home is there just before you leave work. You’re notified about a package’s location after you’re emailed about it. Recent searches appear to remind you about your bad decision to try and understand what happened in the Clone Saga.

Google wants to continue to empower our cell phones and turn them into truly useful person assistants. I believe Google Now is the best way to do that, but I also believe Google Now needs to get a lot better. In particular, Now needs improve its use of contextual information, have more of a personality, and display information better.  (more…)

Before Apple Took Interest, Verizon Was To Install Siri On Every Droid Device

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Making the rounds today is an interesting story, given that it could have greatly affected the way we think about our smartphones and the competitors in the smartphone race. In 2009, before the Siri startup was purchased by  Apple, Verizon made their own bid in an effort to have the software installed on every DROID-branded device they sold. Verizon was so far into the deal that even commercials were filmed to tout DROID’s newest halo feature.  (more…)

Beta Version of Utter! Released to Play Store, Most Powerful Voice Actions App to Date?

Utter!, a voice actions Android app that we covered months ago, went into beta today, and then entered the Google Play store. While we normally roll our eyes at the never-ending string of Siri knock-off style apps that have come to our favorite mobile platform, Utter! is quite different. It’s creator had one focus – to make Utter! “super functional and fast.”  (more…)