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Google’s virtual assistant invades Siri’s turf

Google Now is designed to learn about a user’s preferences and then provide helpful information before it’s even asked to do so.
Google Now is designed to learn about a user’s preferences and then provide helpful information before it’s even asked to do so.Credit: Google via Associated Press

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SAN FRANCISCO — Google is trying to upstage Siri, the sometimes droll assistant that answers questions and helps people manage their lives on Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

The duel began Monday with the release of a free iPhone and iPad app that features Google Now, a technology that performs many of the same functions as Siri.

It’s the first time Google Now has been available on smartphones and tablets that aren’t running on the latest version of Google’s Android software. The technology, which debuted nine months ago, is being included in an upgrade to Google’s search application for iOS, the Apple Inc. software that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It’s up to each user to decide whether to activate Google Now.

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