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Friday, November 04, 2011, 12:28 pm PT (03:28 pm ET)

Apple's Siri seen cutting Google out of valuable mobile ad views

Apple's new Siri voice control on the iPhone 4S can answer questions, access information and deliver search results without displaying any advertising, which one analysis says will hurt search providers like Google.

If users were to become more accustomed to search by voice through Siri rather than visiting Google's website and typing a query, it could place Google at risk, a new analysis from Nigam Arora suggests. Arora noted that before buying an iPhone 4S with Siri, he was required to search for an Indian restaurant through Google's website.

"Google would have made money if I clicked on any one of a number of advertisements for restaurants on the search page," he said. "Siri completely bypassed Google and went to a database called Yelp."

Arora believes that Siri could change users' mobile habits, making them search for information via Apple's Siri rather than directly through Google. He thinks Siri is a better solution because it provides a small number of relevant results rather than a long list that users must sort through. Plus, he views advertisements on a small screen like an iPhone as a distraction.

To support his hypothesis, Arora cites a small study he conducted, in which a total of 40 iPhone 4S users were queried about their mobile search habits. All 40 said they see no need to search Google if Siri can answer their question, while 27 indicated they have not done a single direct Google search since they obtained their iPhone 4S.



Of course, Siri does provide Google search results if a user asks the service to search the Web. Answers are also provided through Bing, Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia, Yelp and Yahoo.

But because users do not need to visit or view a website to utilize Siri, companies like Google that rely heavily on advertising revenue could be stung by user adoption of Siri.

"The way most searches are done at present is merely a temporary phase that will disappear," Arora said. "The business model of Google is at risk. There will always be a need for an index search like Google performs, but the most common search activities will drift away from Google. The problem for Google is that it makes the most money from the most common searches."