The Google Assistant is set to be released on iOS devices in the near future, sources with knowledge of the matter reportedly said on Monday. The Mountain View-based tech giant has allegedly been developing an iOS version of its artificial intelligence (AI) companion for some time now and is planning to soft-launch it in the United States before eventually rolling out its voice-enabled companion to compatible iPhones, iPods, and iPads in other parts of the world, the report states. It remains to be seen when exactly is the Alphabet-owned company planning to officially announce an iOS version of the Google Assistant, but the expansion of its AI digital helper may be confirmed as early as this week seeing how the company's annual developer conference — Google I/O 2017 — is scheduled to start on Wednesday, May 17.
The iOS version of the Google Assistant won't be as integrated into Apple's proprietary operating system as it is into Android for obvious reasons, the report states, adding that the company is instead planning to release a service that's a combination of the regular voice-enabled companion and its chat-oriented version that's available as part of the Google Allo app. If the rumor turns out to be accurate, it would indicate that the Internet giant is making another major push in the consumer-grade AI service market by apparently trying to create a larger phone ecosystem around the Google Assistant instead of tying its companion exclusively to Android. This wasn't immediately clear when the digital helper was originally announced at this time last year during Google I/O 2016 and after it later debuted on the Google Home, Pixel, and the Pixel XL. The Google Assistant only started rolling out to more Android devices in February, and while a stripped-down version of the companion was already available from within Google Allo on Android and iOS devices since September, its capabilities and ease-of-use can hardly compare to the voice-controlled version of the service.
It remains to be seen how the iOS version of the Google Assistant will fare against Siri and whether Google can truly include Apple-made devices into its growing AI ecosystem in a significant manner in the future, but more details on the company's efforts to do so may follow soon.