WTF does Eric Schmidt want us to "ask Apple" about Google Now for iOS?

WTF does Eric Schmidt want us to ask Apple about Google Now for iOS?

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, when asked about the prospects of their predictive digital assistant, Google Now, coming to iOS, reportedly lobbed the ball back into Apple's court. Mahendra Palsule of TechMeme, who was on hand at the Big Tent Conference in India, tweeted the remark:

Alan: "When can I get Google Now on my iPhone?" Schmidt: "You'll have to ask Apple" #BigTentIndia

Schmidt is, of course, being his trademark insincere self. Is the comment meant to imply Google is waiting on Apple to build and release Google Now for iOS themselves? That Google has built and submitted Google Now for iOS to the App Store and is waiting on Apple to approve it? That Google wants to build Google Now for iOS but they need Apple to provide more system access than the current SDK allows?

WTF would we "ask Apple" about a Google product? Should we ask Google when iTunes is coming to Android? Should we ask Microsoft when BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is coming to Windows Phone? And who else, other than Nintendo, should we ask about Super Mario coming to other platforms?

This isn't the first time Schmidt and Google have given completely disingenuous answers when it comes to Apple and iOS. From ludicrous misstatements about the nature of open and closed systems to ridiculous claims of surprise when Apple announced their new Maps app, we're well past the point where the only explanation left is that he and they think we're either profoundly gullible or profoundly stupid, or both.

Attempted Sith mind-tricks aside, I'd love to see Google Now on iOS. The performance of Google Search is fantastic, and Google Now goes well beyond that, and Siri, to provide an amazing level of push-data. However, given Apple's restrictions on system-level access for iOS, I don't think a really robust Google Now app would be possible. (That might be what Schmidt meant, and if so, should have been what he said.)

Allowing that kind of system-level access to user data might not be a good idea either. Google probably wouldn't abuse it, but there's been enough privacy concerns with the existing sandboxes in place that Apple is probably right to remain conservative. And since Google chose to switch from being a close partner to being an aggressive competitor with Apple, special dispensation is extremely unlikely.

That's likely irksome from Google's perspective, since it looks like their short-term future is hinged on the more integrated Google+ and Google Now products. Unlike Apple's hardware model, which can generate most of the industry's profit share despite not owning most of the market share, Google's services model needs the attention of the masses to make money. And iOS users use tons of services and generate tons of money. But Google chose their ad-driven business model, and their current relationship with Apple. They own that.

So, unless and until something changes, rather than asking Apple about Google Now, I'll just ask Eric Schmidt to treat consumers with a little more respect.

Update 1: CNET has both the full quote from Schmidt, which implied Apple might not be allowing Google Now into the App Store.

"Apple has a policy of approving or disapproving apps that are submitted into its store, and some of the apps we make they approve and some of them they don't."

Update 2: Apple has also confirmed that's not the case to Jim Dalrymple of The Loop.

Apple told me today Google Now has not been submitted at all.

Oh, Schmdit.

Update 3: Apple told The Verge that not only hasn't Google submitted a Google Now app, or a Google Search update that includes Now functionality, but...

[An Apple] representative tells The Verge that not a single app from Mountain View is currently in the review process — let alone trapped in limbo.

Update 4: Google has confirmed to John Paczkowski that they haven't submitted a Google Now app to Apple.

Google: "We have not submitted Google Now to Apple's App Store."

So, again, WTF would Schmidt tell us to "ask Apple"?

Source: Mahendra Palsule, CNET

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

WTF does Eric Schmidt want us to "ask Apple" about Google Now for iOS?


I'll have to respectfully disagree with you here. Every time he has given a cryptic message like this, it's been because Google apps are being held hostage by Apple's approvals department. Google Maps and Gmail are two examples. Both sat in approval for a long time before they were in the App Store. Hopefully Apple will wise up with this one and let us have Google Now if we want b

Except with all due respect, that's not true in either case. There's no evidence that either Google Maps or Gmail were held a second longer in the approval process than any other app. It's purely an assumption on your part.

After both were finally released, and even during the approval process, Google states that the apps were submitted but not approved. This is typical Apple when it comes to products they are threatened by, whether it's Google or some other company. I love Apple and their products, but things like this keep users from getting the best apps and experience available.

You just repeated yourself without adding real value to your answer. Michael's point is still valid. You are taking Google's word for it with no real or hard proof.

Guess what? Apparently, Google hasn't even submitted Google Now yet. Surprise?

melwan, you are correct, they haven't submitted an app called "Google Now". It isn't a separate app. It will come in the form of an updated version of "Google Search". Remember how Google claimed that Apple was holding "Google Voice Search" hostage yet Apple claimed that was false then miraculously Apple approves the updated "Google Search" which included the "Google Voice Search" that Google was talking about all along? Follow closely people.

That's not true. 1) Google hasn't submitted a Google Search update either. 2) Google PR specifically said Google Search wasn't Google Now when they released the last update.

No one has any idea what Schmidt was talking about...

Sadly, this means one of the two giants are lying to gain a PR boost of some kind. Personally, I would love to use Google Now on ios; however with Google Search I have access to Google voice recognition; very happy about that.

I personally took it to mean that apple is unlikely to accept a google now app, seeing as it is clearly a superior version to their Siri. Therefore why should google bother making an app for iOS when apple may just reject it? No, better to not bother and make it when apple users beg apple to beg google for the software.

Also I really wish apple would allow a google maps app. I really do miss street view while on my ipad

"Submitted but not approved" means that Apple is reviewing the app in the moment that statement is made.

Even if Apple would be able to review every app in just an hour - there would still be 60 minutes of "submitted but not approved"!

I don't know about Gmail (but if there had been some kind of "Apple stretching the approval process to piss off Google" - that would have been mentioned by many in the forums today - you're the first to mention Gmail in that regard today) - but there definitely was no "hostage situation" with Google Maps.
When Google -> Eric Schmidt - first mentioned that they are not sure if Apple would approve Google Maps - Google Maps wasn't yet submitted.

He's spreading FUD and things that people who don't like Apple can rage about.

It hasn't been submitted, not for an hour, not forever. Google themselves say they haven't submitted Now to Apple, Apple themselves say Google has ZERO apps or updates in for approval.

And I'm the one who's spreading FUD?

and you know this because you are in direct contact withh apple?
gtfo lets all speak out of our ass about dumb ass rumors then...

Read the updates. Apple said there's no Google Now submitted to the store, and has also told The Verge no Google apps or updates of any kind have currently been submitted.

Jeez, don't take it so personally. I enjoy all my apple products but some of the writing here makes me cringe.

First, instead of using a single tweet as a source for a story, how about using an original fully written one like this one from Techcrunch (, They clearly put the conversation in the context of the "we're waiting for Apple to approve the app" situation.

It's a rival company's bigwig, not sure why you're surprised that he's trying to stick it to Apple.

Finally, I hope they do get it approved soon, Siri is absolutely horrid in recognizing phrases compared to the Google voice search currently available.

1) I linked the the full CNET story lower down. 2) Apple said there are no Google apps awaiting approval, so it's not "clearly" anything. 3) I didn't take it personally, I took it appropriately. I get to do that :)

totally in agreement with your first paragraph this sites writing has gotten worse base too many article off rumors and what could bes. not enough on whats actually happening here. wtf happened to imore should be the title of this...

So if Apple suddenly let you simply transfer and play media files of ANY sort on your iDevices, you'd stick with iTunes? Really?!

I love being able to play any media file -- mkv, ogg, flac, avi, etc. -- without jumping through iTunes hoops. Freedommmmmmmmmm! :)

Not one format that is standardized... no wonder you have trouble.

I only use standardized formats. Never had a problem on any platform. Best way to make sure Windows computer works was to install QuickTime. But now MS supports the standard formats too.

Well to be true, I have only had problems with one platform. All those based on Linux seems to have something against proper standards.

Why don't you google ISO/IEC 14496

What the heck are you babbling about? What "trouble"?!

My entire point was that, with Android, you don't need to worry about whether or not media is in a standardized format, and you don't need to push media through some sort of converter (ie. iTunes), in order to play it *natively* on your devices.

With Android, you can obtain a media file of ANY sort, from ANYwhere, and just hit PLAY.

It just works. :P

As for Windows, Media Player Classic Home Cinema (MPC-HC) is MUCH better than Quicktime will ever be. I don't know of a single home theater enthusiast who would bother with Quicktime for anything. Hell, even those who use Macs as a HTPC usually use Plex or XBMC instead!

Standardized formats? Completely irrelevant... in fact, they're a total roadblock to worry-free media consumption.

You have no experience I see with video compatibility on the Windows side.

Only problem you have ever had on windows and video compatibility is to get quicktime installed. Our company did extensive research on what format would be most compatible independent on platform. And our choice fell on Sorenson and Quicktime. That was in the days just before h.264.

And you seem to be one of the guys that is happy with the poor quality of x.264. Just so you know it's pure crap to something that uses proper h.264 decoder and encoder.

So funny what u pirates are happy with. And besides that h.265 is on it's way. Keep on living in the crapp.

No I have not seen one linux machine handle video properly, and on windows quicktime still rocks though development of it has stopped.

But I guess you don't even know what quicktime is or what it does. A hint Quicktime is not a player. Though it comes with one, called Quicktime player.

Well apparently you have categorically through your history chosen non standard formats and now live with the trouble while those who categorically chosen standardised formats and platforms that support standards have less trouble.

I never had any trouble with what I produced or viewed. Even Blu-rays is made according to the ISO/IEC standard.

So all the pirated material you view is converted and therefore you have a loss in quality.

Well you live in a free world, if you want to crawl in the dust your free to do so.

you're babbling again, making ridiculous and inaccurate assumptions, and you completely missed the point I was making about Android being capable of playing anything you want to play without having to convert it first.

The x264 library and most programs that utilize it are quite capable of producing fantastic h264 results. The mkv container is also extremely efficient for storing said media alongside the HD audio tracks, chapter information, and subtitles required for any decent rip.

Once again, though, you completely missed the f'n point with all that nonsense about quicktime and piracy...

Nope i do not miss any point, where is mkv used if not with pirated content.

Anyway x.264 libraries does a really lousy job. Ever compared the two even neck to neck?

Why do you think VLC on a mac offers you the option to use the built in libraries in OSX rather than it's x.264? Would it be cause x.264 does such a grat job?

And what will happen with the h.265 support in Android do you think? Will it ever be there?

Never the less it would not surprise me if an idevice actually supports more formats than a android does.

"From ludicrous misstatements about the nature of open and closed systems to ridiculous claims of surprise when Apple announced their new Maps app, we're well passed the point where the only explanation left is that he and they think we're either profoundly gullible or profoundly stupid, or both."

"past", not "passed".

I think his tactic was to try and spur Apple into doing whatever it is they are doing on there end faster. But that aside, BB10 runs Mario Kart 64, I want Mario Kart 64 on my iPhone, with a Bladepad.

Well of course they haven't submitted and app called "Google Now". They have submitted an updated version of the "Google Search" app which includes Google Now. What a clever way for Apple to claim innocent.

No 'guess', that's how Google Now works, factually and with certainty, it's in the already existent Google Search app on Android, and would be on iOS if Apple approves it. To claim otherwise would be purely out of ignorance.

The video google leaked a few days ago explained exactly how to access Google Now. The video says, "to access google now just go to google search, login then swipe up". This isn't speculation, I am just going off the facts.

If it works like it does on Android, then yeah. (I love it on my GNote! :)

hat would also make Apple's response to the question more filthy, but that doesn't surprise me in the last...

No they haven't. According to a statement from Apple to the Verge, there's no Google Search , or any Google app or update awaiting approval.

So, more honest than clever?

DCMenzel, see my previous reply. There is no separate Google Now app. It's built into Google Search on Android and would be on iOS as well if it came out. There is no new app to submit, only need to update the existing Google Search app. Lotta erroneous info in here from people who don't really know how Google Now works.

I don't really care about Google Now, Then, or whatever they come up with next. Reader was the last reason for my Google account and that will be gone soon.

Man...seems like you took that personal. LMBO. That's a lot of words to say a little.

Cryptic? Yes. Something to get worked up over? Nope. We'll find out in due time what he meant.

You don't take people treating you like an idiot personally?

He should say what he means. The onus isn't on us to "find out". Right now it looks more like an outright lie meant to make Apple look bad. That's sub-optimal for us, for Google, and for Apple. Mostly us.

Nah man, these aren't issues to get bothered over. Cryptic statements can be annoying but he did nothing to me personally so I'm fine waiting for clarity or never knowing. If it turns out you/Apple followers blew up over nothing, the egg won't taste too great. I've tasted it too often to learn to wait.

It is possible he was pulling a Schiller. If so, it backfired the same. With Schiller outright lying to people, where was the vitriol for his antics? Not "oops.. He was wrong" but the same personally emotional response to that?

We all take things differently but first world problems aren't worth my emotional time. I'll debate them all day though. :-D (you know that oh too well; lol)

Likewise. And yes, Schiller's comment on Android 4.2.2 was similar, but more akin to Google comments that Apple is closed: an incorrect statement about a competing product.

Schiller didn't intimate Google was trying to screw Apple over.

This was the exact same lie Schmidt told about Google Maps, and people believed it then as well so of course he's going to trot it out again. Too bad he shut down Google Labs a while back, or they might have been able to invent a new lie for him to try out.

Why is he taking it so personally? I love all my apple products but I do think it'd be nice to have some apps like google now. Not to say that they're better, but to have more options. I don't think Schmidt said anything wrong, I guess only totally hardcore apple fanatics would see this as offensive

I didn't take anything personally. I want Google Now on iOS. I like it a lot. I use it on my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 all the time (does that make me a failed fanboy? Nonsense terms like that are so confusing...)

I'm not a fan of major corporate leaders thinking their customers are stupid. Forgive me if I choose to point that out.

EITHER one is as likely to lie as the other. Google could be lying, as could Apple. "Oh, Schmdit" implies that it is absolutely the case that Apple is honest. Schmdit knows definitely, and really, he's the only one who *knows*.

tldr; Either could be lying, "Oh, Schmdit" seems biased.

You think Apple would lie in multiple on-the record comments made to major news outlets by their PR department? Given the history of Schmidt and Apple PR, which scenario is more likely?

I guess the point is no one will know for sure, it is just conjecture, as Google will say they did, and Apple will say they didn't. Unless Google can publish the code, or Apple can post a shot of all their submitted apps, no one will have definitive proof.

My point is all of these other companies have issues with Apple over apps getting denied, there has to be at least a sliver of a chance that Apple is lying here.

So, Schmidt did lie. I wasn't saying it couldn't be Google lying. But my only point was that there was a *chance* (until Google confirmed it) that Apple was lying. That was all I was saying.

I had google now on my Galaxy Nexus and S3. I hated the majority of it. I turned 80% of it off as it became annoying. I personally like Siri better.

And I loved it, in fact, iOS having it would give me a VERY good reason to go back and drop Android as it's an absolute game-changer. I guess we're each different, eh?

As always, Rene, great editorial. I only wish more tech columnists followed your practice of showing both sides of an argument and then providing evidence as to why you come down on the side that you do.

Rene- you need an 'update 3'. There is no separate Google Now app, it's built into the google search on android, and would be on iOS as well. The fact that Google hasn't submitted a new app is irrelevant as Google Now operates through the google search app. Get your facts straight before throwing out quips, please.

That's incorrect. 1) Google hasn't submitted a Google Search update either. 2) Last time I said that Google PR contacted me and asked me not to say that, pointing out iOS Search and Google Now were two separate, unrelated products.

My facts are straight. And apology accepted :)

This is truly an awful take, digging around to conjure up some imagined slight. As you broke it down:

1) Google Now is a system level service.
2) Apple does not allow system level services
3) Ergo, Google is not going to develop now until Apple allows system level services

And it is somehow "disingenuous" that Google did not outline a specific roadmap "if Apple does A, we will do B?" What a self-important, entitled attitude to demand a company supply specific strategic directions for a crown jewel in a venue not devoted to that service.

I did no digging. I took one tiny little step and there the slight was.

Google could do a significant portion of Now on iOS as it is. They can access Calendar and Location, they could tie in weather and their mapping data. It wouldn't be as good as Android, but neither is Google Voice.

Schmidt was unclear at best, deliberately disingenuous at best, and it's not the first time.

He didn't "no comment", he didn't "we're not here to discuss that today" he didn't do any of a dozen things classy executives do in that situation. He flung it directly at Apple.

That's not okay.

You can make it about me all you want, but it only reflects poorly on you. (See, I can be needlessly, childishly personal as well, if that's the song you insist on dancing too?)

+ they could easily access and use all the user data of their existing services/ iOS apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Keep (maybe soon also for iOS), ... providing at least almost the same functionality of Google Now also on iOS

It is a matter of tone. You decry Schmitt for not laying out a roadmap in an irrelevant venue, and then, instead of saying

"Schmitt did not clearly articulate reasons for Google Now's absence on iOS"
you headline
"WTF Does Eric Schmitt want"
and write he is
"being his trademark insincere self."

And then you say that *others* are being needlessly personal? If so, we are only dancing the tune you insist on playing.

The last time Schmidt said this was about Google maps in late Sept and Dalrymple had the same response as he does now (the guy is predictable), yet two months later maps was released. Perhaps Schmidt is confused about when an app is actually submitted to Apple for approval.

That's possible. Probably better not to comment at all then. He shouldn't be seen as confused about that stuff.

Google also said they were shocked -- shocked! -- that Apple stopped using their data service in Apple Maps, which is almost impossible to believe. (Making your customers choose between thinking you're lying or incompetent is never a good thing.)

The saddest part is that they simply have to stop saying stuff like this, and it would be a huge win for them.

I'm not sure what his role is anymore, he does appear not to be "in the know" of what is happening at Google itself. I'm guessing he's a bit of an ego and like to see himself at the top of his newsfeeds. what a better way of doing that than toss out an inflammatory statement

p.s. thanks for all these responses. you rock!

FYI, I'm pretty sure that Google Now would work even without system level access. The only thing it wouldn't be able to do is perform phone operations. It does a lot more than that. I could go into more detail if everything I typed didn't keep getting MARKED AS SPAM!

edit: DAMMIT, I have a lot more to type in to flesh this out, but it keeps getting marked as spam. WTF!?!? This is getting ridiculous!

I am so sick of people getting butt hurt from either side... isheep or andbots... I have used both and like both platforms and think they each have something better to offer than the other... But people take this crap way to seriously like they own the company... Who cares what he said, it wasn't even remotely bad... Everyone who says they won't use GoogleNow just because it is google is ignorant and close minded and fits the common stereotype of an iphone user.... Everyone needs to grow up and realize both companies will lie to their consumers to save face... Apple is not any different than any other company


And Rene, you are way to biased about things... I have only read a few of your columns and don't think you are giving readers the full picture... Even Phil at AC is pretty unbiased when he writes about iOS topics... I think you should take some lessons from him

It is interesting and telling to see the bad reaction by Rene. In the last two weeks, the talking tools of Apple and Google made false statements about each other, yet for Apple Rene shrugs it off while he offers anger towards Google. In understand these are difficult times for Apple fans, but come on.

truthfully mentioned in that edit i am an iphone fanboy and for me to rather be on the android site says something.
very biased and never seen you comment so much..

Here is what I think about this. First of all, that man is soooo gross. I cannot stand his face. His rude tude just makes it even more uglier. It's like looking at the ugliest thing in the world. And not just because he is Google.

Google knows that Apple is a powerhouse and has a ton of fans/users. The fact that he is trying to put Apple on the spot by making them be the 'bad guy' is just wrong. He's such an ugly bully that he NEEDS Apple to make his (bazillion) lonesome products run in more places. People don't realize how much of their info is being used by Google and tracked. You don't see Apple attacking Google (yet). And I didn't say Apple doesn't (just not as much more than Google).

What Apple needs to do is just correct Siri. Correct Maps. Do a 360 on those and then some more and people will rely less on Google's offerings. I've always been a google search fan. But sometimes they seem to be full of themselves and only want me me me (google $$) and not us us us (consumers).

I hope Apple doesn't need to rely on Google at all some day. Don't feed the bullies.

If you mean in the headline, I believe that was what they meant: Schmidt says "ask Apple" but what the flick is he saying they should ask? What actual question?

Fair enough, I'll apologize. I'm still scratching my head at the confirmation of 'no new app submitted' because it shouldn't need to be in a separate app. The fact that no update has been submitted for the existing Google Search app (where Google Now would operate out of) confirms that they haven't moved on it then.

I'm guessing then, that what Eric Schmidt may be cryptically saying is that he thinks Apple's policies need to change in order for Google to feel like they're giving the full Google Now experience for iOS.

Google: "We have not submitted Google Now to Apple's App Store."

Sounds like he's either being a tool or this is a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is, or in this case isn't, doing.

I agree with Rene. It would be great to have Google Now on the iPhone.

However, I do not know who I distrust more, Mahendra or Eric. Probably Eric.

Hello Rene

To be a classy site, please refrain from nasty abbreviations in the Title and body of posts. I like to refer my students to iMore and comments like this make it difficult. I find TWIT.TV to be an example of good Editor leadership and sets an example for all that contribute.
The ElderTechTutor

We do it exceedingly rarely and only when the editorial value is overwhelmingly great.

We trust everyone is smart and mature enough not to find offense when there is potential otherwise -- "Why the fudge" is just as legitimate a reader, and if you want to be all cool and future-thinking about it, "why the frak".

We definitely think of the kids when we publish, we just don't treat adults like them :)

there are no needs to use those phrases in the first place be respectful is all shes asking very surprising and disappointing to see imore post a title like that.

I think this is just crazy talk. Eric Schmidt is know for saying off the wall stuff and honestly I don't want to use any Google app...I don't want them tracking me reading my emails learning what is important to me...they already know where I live...and what I eat...they have pushed privacy restrictions to the creepy line but haven't crossed it...yes Eric said that too....