Google and Apple’s Take on Context

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If you’ve been following tech giants Google and Apple recently, you’ll notice some similarities in their most recent developer conferences: both of them are making strides towards making their mobile experiences more contextually aware.

At the most recent Google IO conference, the Android team announced it’s latest release, M, which includes Now on tap, a set of features that allow users find relevant information on the fly, even if they are in the middle of another task. For example, if you receive an email from a friend wanting to see the latest Mad Max film (if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re probably missing out on one of the greatest action films in the last 20 years), you can invoke Now on Tap to pull info on the film, get its rating on Rotten Tomatoes and look up the cast on IMDB. This feature totally nails an important problem for most search users – not just querying info but finding relevant info at the right time without having to leave the current application.

In the same building just yesterday at WWDC 2015, Apple unveiled its own set of contextual features via updates to Siri personal assistant, alongside a weird new name for their OS X (yes, I get that El Capitan is inside Yosemite, but it actually reminds me of this dude), as well as an inexplicably long presentation launching Apple Music (with an appearance by Toronto’s own Drake, rambling incoherently, but in a pretty cool vintage Apple jacket).

Siri now anticipates what you want to do based on your location, the time, the current app that’s open or what you’re connected to. Say you are running and you plug your headphones into your iPhone, Siri knows to start playing that awesome workout playlist. Alternately, if you plug it into your car, it will line up your favourite podcast. Again more context, making for a better mobile experience.

We at Flybits are also making mobile experiences more contextual, helping enterprises to do so with a powerful set of tools that allow anyone in the organization, from marketers to developers, to build highly personalized experiences – quickly and easily. And since this post is on the company’s blog, I won’t resist a shameless plug — get in touch with us to find out more!

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