There’s some interesting news coming out of an extensive report in 9to5 Mac that Apple is going to be bringing out a potential search competitor to Google Now that has comparable “predictive search” functionality. Microsoft’s Cortana possesses predictive capabilities that Apple’s Siri lacks.
This new capability, which is currently known as “Proactive,” has been built partially using the personal virtual assistant, Cue, which was purchased by Apple in late 2013. The purchase cost Apple somewhere in the range of $35 million to $45 million. Cue uses emails, can contact other on-device content to present an overview of to-dos, as well as upcoming meetings and other information.
The idea behind Proactive is that it it will provide time-sensitive and relevant contextual information, allowing it to become a successor to Spotlight search. Even if this is the case, the Spotlight name will remain the same.
There will be other capabilities available to Proactive, including augmented reality content in Apple Maps:
Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.
As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”
It’s possible that Apple could show off Proactive at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8. 9to5 Mac says that, “Proactive will become a new layer within the iOS operating system, replacing the pull-down Spotlight menu currently found on the iOS Home screen.”
According to the article, the new Spotlight/Proactive search capabilities are going to be more prominent and accessible from a pull-down and to the left of the homescreen.