Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

Summary: Amid calls that Google is "anti-competitive", the search giant sees Siri as a "significant development" in mobile search. Could Siri spark the end for Google's dominance?

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Eric Schmidt, in another round with U.S. senators to face questions over Google's alleged anti-competitiveness, says Google is threatened by Apple's latest player in the search market: Siri.

"Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S", Schmidt wrote in response to written questions posed by antitrust subcommittee lawmakers on Friday.

While other challenges faced by the company include Facebook's integration of Bing as its default search option, and losing its real-time search of Twitter and other up-to-the-minute results, Siri appears to make Google worry the most.

(Source: CBS News)

Apple and Google, seemingly up until recently, were married in the technology world. Though signs of fraying of the carefully crafted relationship had appeared over the past year, it has since become clear that Apple was to 'divorce' itself from the search giant.

Though Apple has no primary stake in the search engine market, instead leveraging the capabilities of Google, as the iPhone's primary search engine, and Microsoft's Bing as another choice for consumers, Schmidt nevertheless sees the Cupertino-based technology giant as a threat to its global marketshare statistics.

Schmidt, who currently serves as Google's executive chairman, insisted however that Google was "not dominant" in web search, as lawmakers contended.

The search giant currently holds 65.3 percent of the U.S. search engine marketshare according to comScore, as both U.S. and European antitrust authorities investigate the company.
Schmidt has two problems to contend with:

Firstly, he needs to convince primarily the U.S. authorities, rather than the European authority underdogs, that Google is not anti-competitive. If anything, to come across as 'wounded' and 'the victim' in all of this will score Schmidt bonus points. Secondly, and crucially, it needs to remain as the industry leader in search and mobile spaces; while appearing not to call Siri anti-competitive in itself, to push others into thinking it is.

It's a difficult balance to strike. But amid Schmidt's hedging answers, as part of his repeat Senate hearing, Apple may do more damage to Google than U.S. and European antitrust authorities.

Apple seems to have designed Siri in such a way that it only uses Google when it really has to; in a part to appear as truly 'intelligent', whilst also striking a blow to Google, by performing the bare minimum as part of their ongoing 'divorce' proceedings.

When asking Siri a question, it searches the web only as a last resort, bypassing Google as its default search engine, instead to claim the best answer it can from Wolfram Alpha, Yelp or other web services. Naturally, Google sees this as a threat.

Knowing full well that though Google has 44 percent of the mobile marketshare, with Google as the default search on its Android devices, and Apple only has 27 percent of the U.S. mobile slice, the numbers are beginning to collide. Google is quietly panicking.

But Schmidt is not alone in his Siri suspicions.

I, for one, could not for a moment be sarcastic, cruel or tormenting to Siri, unlike the millions of users worldwide that badger the assistant with inane, sexually-explicit questions -- just by the off chance it is more intelligent than Apple lets on, and texts my entire phonebook contact list my deepest, darkest secrets as I sleep.

You never know.

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Topics: Apple, Browser, Google, Networking, Telcos

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42 comments
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  • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

    This is an attempt to show that Google is not a monopoly and that it is not a threat to the web, that's all.
    Saying the Siri, a voice activated search engine on the iphone is a threat to the existence of google is silly
    rgor1
    • Actually, it is

      @rgor@... <br>The general public may not realize that the SIRI responses are not "google" and are filtered, heavily filtered for some questions.<br>Thinking they are getting "Google" level results I can see the potential shift as Apple extends SIRI to future models and possibly the iPad2 / iPhone4.<br><br>Unfortunately intriguing......
      rhonin
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @rhonin
        Actually rgor@ is right Schmidt contiunes to deny that Google has a monopoly in search(It holds 90%+ marketshare worldwide) which is kinda silly
        There is nothing wrong with beign a monopoly as long as it's fair.
        g16
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @g@.....<br>Check again.<br>Google owns just under a 66% market share - not the 90 you espouse...<br><br>Now tell me how many folks you know think Google and SIRI have the same data sources or quality of data...<br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/plain.gif" alt="plain">
        rhonin
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @rhonin I agree to some extent but the context of his statement needs to be taken into account. He is talking to a legal body and trying to defend his company from an accusation.
        Think of iphone usage. What percentage of people "talk" to their phones with confidence? What percent of those are iphone users and what percent of that percent are siri users who do rely on google for search?
        Saying that a voice assisted search feature on the iphone 4s that still uses Google (albeit to a smaller degree) is a threat to Google's monopoly is silly.
        If he wanted to prove a point, he could argue that facebook or twitter could be threats or that Microsoft's OS dominance prevents google from being an abusive monopoly, but he didn't which is odd.
        rgor1
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @g@...

        Where do you get that number? The numbers the committee had put Google at 90% ONLY for mobile. The committee completely ignored the existence of facebook or social media. Even then, they could only pump Google to the 65% mark on the desktop(and laptop).
        tkejlboom
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @rhonin

        I've read it holds 95%+ market share in EU...

        G might be a monopoly there, I guess.
        pk de cville
    • Google is not a monopoly

      @rgor@... 90% market share doesnt make it so. Unfortunately, to the US govt, any market share greater than your competitor's is considered a monopoly.
      otaddy
      • Unless You Own Your Own Congressmen

        @otaddy <br>*cough* telecom *cough* cable companies *cough*
        crazydanr
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @otaddy

        90% WOULD make it a monopoly. Not ALL monopolies are illegal, which is why it's not called anti-monopoly law. That said, the 90% number is bogus, and THAT is why Google is not a monopoly at all.
        tkejlboom
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @crazydanr
        You can be sure that Google also has its men inside. You should check Schmidts' history, very enlightening.
        Good point though :-)
        belli_bettens
    • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

      I look forward to the day Apple severs all ties with Google and Google technology... Google has become a search monster, tracking every detail it possibly can about users, using both legal and illegal means.

      The entire idea of a mobile OS (Android) was stolen by Eric Schmidt when he sat on Apples Board. He was smart enough to see the writing on the wall, mobile smartphones were the future. So he took what he knew Apple was doing back to Google and a few months later Android appears.

      Google has repeatedly been busted violating consumer privacy laws and has become an arrogant and evil organization despite item 6 of their policy "You can make money without doing evil", which is utter BS.
      Masari.Jones
    • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

      "Saying that a voice assisted search feature on the iphone 4s that still uses Google (albeit to a smaller degree) is a threat to Google's monopoly is silly."<br><br>Well, wait till Siri grows up; she's only 1 month old.
      pk de cville
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @pk de cville
        And you now what they do,they speak and fill there nappies with a lot of s__t.
        No doubt being given a lot pur??ed Apple and juice,to grow up be a big .......
        morrig
  • What &quot;Glass House&quot; Would That Be, Then?

    I don't understand the significance of the title. The phrase would seem to come from the saying "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones", which as I understand it is a warning against hypocrisy. So where is the hypocrisy here, exactly? Is Google doing something it doesn't want others to do?

    Please explain.
    ldo17
    • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

      @ldo17 Yeah, it unfortunate that ZdNet is getting on this behavior of creating Overhyped story titles to get web hits.
      mktpostal
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @mktpostal@...

        Agreed. This isn't the first time a story title on a ZDNet was just click bait X(.
        CobraA1
    • Yes

      @ldo17

      It doesn't want anyone else to steal their shine. Google feels very threatened by Bing, Wolfram, etc.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

        @Cylon Centurion
        Not a threat from Wolfram - If you read the fine print, answers from Wolfram belong to Wolfram - and if you use those answers in anything else, you owe them money.

        Thread by Bing? not really. Bing still has to fill out their database faster than Google. And that isn't happening yet. Someday maybe.
        jessepollard
    • RE: Google throws stones from its glass house, calls Siri 'competitive threat'

      @ldo17
      Its not unprecendented for google. Case in point, Google joined with other companies in the EU antitrust cast against MS saying it was wrong of MS for including a web browser in its OS, while at the same time annoucing and releasing ChromeOS. Which is of course an OS that includes a web browser.

      I think what Zack is saying is Google has s lions share of the search market and even bigger in ads and when a competitor comes along they are calling them anti-competitive.

      Really its not even google i am concerned about. Its Intel, they should be investigated to determine if they are using their monopoly unfairly. I read a story about them and if 1/2 of what was said was true then they are worse then MS was in their darkest days.
      NoThomas