Apple will integrate Siri voice search with several car manufacturers. Drivers will be able to press a button in the steering wheel to bring up Siri and activate functions through audio commands.
BMW, General Motors, Mercedes, Land Rover, Audi, Jaguar, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda have committed to integrating the Siri app, Eyes Free, within the next 12 months.
Through Apple iOS 6, Siri can now launch apps, search for sports-related scores and stats, and find restauranta, movie ratings and reviews through Yelp, OpenTable and Rotten Tomato, respectively.
With the new operating system, Apple takes local voice search worldwide. Siri, which already speaks several languages, will expand multilingual capabilities with English and French for Canada; along with Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Siri will also become available on the new iPad.
Apple will also replace Google Maps with its own creation in devices running iOS 6. The challenge becomes asking consumers to trust an artificial intelligence app known in the first generation as being a bit buggy. TomTom on Tuesday said it has signed an agreement with Apple to power its digital maps.
On the mobile device, David Berkowitz, vice president of emerging media at digital agency 360i, believes voice search will generate fewer impressions, but much higher conversion rates. There is less opportunity to make a first impression in mobile search, compared with desktop, he says, noting that voice search will require marketers to have new skill sets for both paid search and search engine optimization.
For Google and Apple, voice search ties into their respective mobile operating systems. Microsoft seems more heavily invested in Kinect-powered voice search, rather than Tellme, which the company acquired long before anyone cared about voice search.
Siri isn't the only voice-activated search app. At the MediaPost Search Insider Summit in April, Evi creator William Tunstall-Pedoe, CEO and founder of True Knowledge, provided insight into the future of voice search and how artificial intelligence will understand tone, inflection and the intent of a search query.