Siri Could Revolutionise the Use of Search Engines

Soon after Apple released its latest handset all the fans forgot that everyone had expected a redesigned iPhone 5 with larger screen and a teardrop design; what Apple introduced to the market in terms of user interface was far more important.

Leading voice technology company Nuance recently valuated the market potential opened up by Apple's new found application of voice technology at about $5 billion.

Siri, the sassy digital assistant that obeys voice commands issued by iPhone 4S owners, will soon change our expectations if she hasn't already. What could be more simple than looking for information by asking in a natural voice? No more typing on a keyboard or sensitive touchscreen, or even necessarily viewing a display.

Alexandra A. of Main Device suggests that Siri could revolutionise the search engine industry. Siri uses various sources to find the answers users are looking for, such as Wikipedia and Wolfram Alfa for facts and for business directory information Yelp.com (in the US at least).

This of course provides a direct challenge to Google's search engine business, which relies on searchers viewing results on its interface with revenue coming from the advertisements displayed.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt even mentioned Siri alongside other rivals, like Bing and Yahoo, as providing ever stiffer competition in the search sector.

Alexandra certainly sees there being a shift in the search arena, claiming "as Siri gets better and better, you’ll see it going to Google less and less."

Though, of course there is a major difference between a Siri search and a Google search: the iPhone assistant hand picks an answer or two for the user, while Google gives you pages and pages of options to choose from.

There will no doubt be room for both queries requiring specific answers, which Siri could handle, and those where a wide range of results is preferable, where a voice response would be impractical or insufficient.

It will be interesting to see how this sector progresses, and of course, in the not too distant future we can expect to see Siri-like capabilities in all sorts of gadgets that surround us.