Google Assistant on iOS Spells Big Trouble for Apple, How Did Apple Allow It?

google-assistant-iphone iOS

By now, most of us know that Google Assistant has made it into the iOS ecosystem. But the big question is: how did Apple even allow it inside its gilded prison walls? Of course, Cortana is already living inside iOS, but having Google Assistant on iOS – even as a mere app – could spell disaster for Siri and Apple’s efforts at having a preferred virtual assistant on their devices.

Why is that, and how is Cortana less of a threat than Google Assistant, as far as iOS, Siri and Apple are concerned?

First of all we need to understand how these three digital assistants work on iOS.

Siri is the queen of iOS, no doubt. She has hooks deep into iOS that Cortana and Google Assistant will never get access to. That limits their functionality to a great extent. But the thing is, Siri herself has limited functionality. For example, you can’t tell your iPhone Siri to turn on your Apple TV the way you can tell your Apple TV Siri to.

Um, yeah, that’s about right.

Apple has a patent that could eventually make that possible, but it’s not there yet.

Cortana and Google Assistant, on the other hand, have to behave themselves while in Siri’s Queendom. They can’t access a lot of deep features like Siri can, like sending messages on iMessage, opening up apps on command, setting alarms or making calls through the phone app.

Now, here’s the part where things become risky for Apple to let these two ‘outsiders’ into their walled garden.

Like Siri works best with Apple products, Cortana works best with Microsoft products and Google Assistant with Google products. Cortana is great for productivity stuff, like accessing Office 365 and so on. More than being a threat to Apple’s closed ecosystem, it allows much greater flexibility for its users, many of whom are business users that also use Microsoft products for work.

But Google Assistant is altogether a totally different beast. Google’s products span search, music, maps, web payments, video, smart speakers, email, news, unified communications, browsing, photos, e-commerce (Google Express) – you get the picture. The point is, many of those are things that Apple is counting on for the future, like maps, web payments, streaming music, photos and even smart speakers. Moreover, these are the things Siri subsists on.

All of that poses a significant threat to Apple’s own services like Apple Music and Apple Pay – at a critical time when Apple is trying to reduce its dependency on iPhone and device sales and push hard on the services front. But it poses an even greater threat to Siri usage. At her current level of development, there are only very few things she can do better than Google Assistant despite being native to iOS.

Admittedly, Google Assistant on iOS doesn’t have much of the functionality that is required to compete with Apple on Apple’s own turf right now, but as Google builds out the app and keeps piling on the features, it’s definitely going to eat into Apple’s own app and service ecosystem at some point.

That’s why we’re surprised that they even considered approving Google Assistant for iOS. On the other hand, how could they refuse? Google already has a lot of its apps on iOS, so there’s no legitimate reason that Apple could have used to reject the app. Caught it its own web!

As Google Assistant becomes more unified across devices, the way Google promised it would at the I/O conference last week, we can only hope that Apple is prepared for its cart to be upset. In a big, big way. It will take time, no doubt, but there’s equally little doubt that now that Google Assistant has a foot in the iOS door, it can only spell trouble for Siri and Apple.

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