A senior Google executive has teased possible future iOS support for the Google Assistant virtual helper.
Right now, Google’s AI-powered digital assistant – Google Assistant – is only available on Android devices, specifically those running on the latest version of Android Nougat. But Google has been no stranger to building apps for the iPhone in the past, with many of its most popular apps like Maps, Hangouts, and Gmail all available on iOS.
Speaking to Google Product Management Director Gummi Hafsteinsson at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Geekster asked whether Google Assistant would ever be made available on Apple’s iOS software.
“I don’t think we have anything to announce at this point,” Gummi responded. “But I think the general philosophy is that we would like to have the Assistant available to as many people as possible.”
While that’s not strictly confirmation, it’s a clear hint that Google ambitions for Google Assistant are much more broad than the current rollout.
Unfortunately, what’s likely to be hampering Google’s efforts are Apple’s rules for iOS, which don’t allow for integrated third-party voice assistants. These rules help keep Apple’s own Siri digital assistant at the fore of iPhone users mobile experience, as opposed to a rival. That said, Google’s iOS search app comes with Google Now built-in – that’s Google’s Assistant predecessor, which has a much more limited AI brain.
So why would iPhone users want Google Assistant if they’ve already got Siri? Well the key advantage of Google Assistant is that it has a heightened contextual awareness, and will understand your questions based on what you’re looking at on a page, or the questions you’ve previously asked. Apple, meanwhile, has been slow to develop the AI core of Siri, which means it offers a comparatively underwhelming experience.
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