Talking tech since 2003

At today’s Big Tent Summit in India, Google chairman Eric Schmidt was asked about Google Now’s prospects on Apple’s iOS. Schmidt’s answer, “”You’ll need to discuss that with Apple,” seemed to suggest that Google had both finished and submitted a Google Now for iOS app and was simply waiting for Apple to approve it.

According to Apple, that isn’t the case. In a statement to news site CNET, Apple claimed that Google had not yet submitted Google Now to the App Store for approval.

Google Now is Google’s answer to Siri — a personal assistant that provides quick answers to dictated inquiries. Much like Siri does on the iPhone and iPad, Google Now integrates deeply with Android devices to enable voice control features, as well. Google Now for iOS would almost certainly be missing the deep OS-level integration that it enjoys on Android, but it would still offer a way for users to ask questions and receive answers. Most in tech — myself included — agree that Google Now’s ability to understand and answer these questions is a bit more robust than Siri is currently.

So Eric Schmidt seems to be saying that Apple is sitting on Google Now for iOS, and Apple is coming right out and refuting that, saying that it doesn’t have the app in its approval queue at all. If Apple is telling the truth, why would Schmidt say such a thing? He could be out of the loop on the Google Now app’s timeline and, perhaps, the app will be sent to Apple for approval in the near future. Or perhaps he’s just taking the opportunity to get a dig in on Apple, whose strict App Store approval process has been the cause of much debate over the years.

If Google does inevitably send a Google Now for iOS app to Apple, there isn’t a lot of evidence that the Cupertino-based company won’t approve it. Apple seems to have become more lax in terms of approving apps that replicate core OS functionality. For instance, the Google Voice app (which Apple did not approve initially) was eventually given the green light. Apple has also approved Google’s Chrome app for iOS as well as Gmail and Google Maps. All of these apps perform tasks that are possible with stock iOS apps, and all went through without hassle. Based on these apps, there’s no reason to believe Google Now wouldn’t be allowed in.

We’ll be watching the App Store for the Google Now app and will also keep our ears to the ground, listening for more on this story. Stay tuned.

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