In a patent titled Virtual assistant in a communication session, Apple has hinted at a future technology that’ll integrate Siri more deeply into iMessages.
This patented tech allows Siri to pop-up in your conversations and helps you out with basic issues like finding how far you are from your friends or giving them directions to your location, etc.
The new technology also has the ability to interact with third-party apps like PayPal. So if you quickly want to send some money to the friend you’re chatting with, all you need to do is bring up Siri and ask her to help.
The interesting this is that this ‘new technology’ sounds (and functions) a lot like the Google Assistant that the search giant unveiled earlier this year for its own messaging app – Allo. And to be frank, the abilities of Siri seem a bit underdeveloped when compared to what Google Assistant is capable of.
As pointed out by Quartz, “Google Assistant’s functionality is more extensive than what’s described in the Apple patent, which only gives examples of scheduling and payments. Google Assistant can scour for addresses, movie showtimes, restaurants, flights, and hotels from within the app, as well as report on news, weather, traffic, sports, and more.”
Still, I am not saying it’s a copy, and calling it ‘new technology’ only because Apple filed for this patent in April 2015, which was months before Google announced its assistance. But then we cannot blame Google for copying as well, because this patent only became public recently, after Google has announced its assistant.
Either way, this technology isn’t totally new. Virtual assistants have been cropping up like weed over the past couple of years. Every tech giant that has cash to spare has been investing heavily in virtual assistants. In fact, all the major players in tech industry already have their own distinct virtual assistant.
They all have more or less the same grand plans for their virtual assistants. As Ben Lovejoy from 9to5Mac says, “In time, I’d like Siri to be able to handle tasks like ‘Arrange lunch with Sam next week.’ Siri knows who Sam is so that bit’s fine. It has access to my calendar, so knows when I have free lunch slots. Next, it needs to know when Sam has free lunch slots, [and then put all the information together].”
While for us such a thing is intuitive and doesn’t require much thought, for a virtual assistant to be able to do this requires thousands of lines of precisely written codes. So yeah, it’s going to be a long battle between Apple’s Siri, Google’ Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, Facebook’s Messenger [bot], Samsung’s Viv, and every other third-party, stand-alone virtual assistant app being made.