“Hey Siri, OK Google”

Posted on November 21, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, iOS, Smart Home with 30 Comments

Well, this is insidious: Google has figured out a way to subvert Siri so that you can use it to summon Google Assistant on the iPhone instead.

“We added support for Siri Shortcuts to make it even easier to access your Assistant,” the Google Assistant product page on Apple’s iOS-based App Store notes.

Google’s hack is a brilliant as it is ponderous: Those who wish to use the best digital personal assistant on their iPhones had been forced to manually run the Google Assistant app because Apple locks down the default assistant app on its platforms. But now, thanks to a new feature in the latest iOS version, users can create a Siri shortcut that will help them launch Google Assistant using their voice … from Siri.

(OK, Siri Shortcuts is really a standalone app. But it requires iOS 12.)

If you think this sounds similar to the Cortana and Amazon Alexa integration, you’re correct. But there is one big difference here. Where Microsoft and Amazon partnered on that integration, Apple has worked to keep Google out of its precious iPhones as much as possible. And I’m surprised it allows this little workaround, no matter how ponderous it is.

That said, you don’t have to say, “Hey Siri, OK Google.” That’s just a sample shortcut that various tech blogs have come up with. You could instead use something shorter and easier to say as well. You could also use Siri Shorcuts to run Google Assistant routines, which are like multi-command scripts. Now that would be smart.


Tagged with , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (30)

30 responses to ““Hey Siri, OK Google””

  1. MikeGalos

    "Apple has worked to keep Google out of its precious iPhones as much as possible"

    Not really. They just wanted $9,000,000,000 this year and $12,000,000,000 next year for Google to be at the heart of their precious iPhones. I'm sure for several billion dollars more they'd have opened even a better hole for Google to "subvert".

    • nbplopes

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Well it looks like Apple does more money with search than Microsoft Bing ... and they don’t even own a search engine.

      I think selectively locking businesses out is more MS style. Apple style is more welcome everyone the same way. Less sneaky, more transparent.

      Whats next? A partnership wirh Google to bring Google Assistant as they did for Alexa?

      • ChristopherCollins

        In reply to nbplopes:

        I like the Alexa partnership. She controls my XBox One better than my Kinect did. With Apple and Google working together, it makes sense for MS and Amazon to work together.

        Cortana seems to be in the process of being phased out of the consumer space and will just be an AI for business/office.

        • nbplopes

          In reply to ChristopherCollins:

          That’s is fine, But you see, Alexa and Cortana can also use Siri Shortcuts, as Google does. There is no preference really. Any app can support Siri Shortcuts the same way Google is. Imagine if in Xbox One you could opt to use Cortana, Alexa or Google Assistant,

          Up until 2017 Siri and macOS Spotlight used Bing!!! I guess Google payed more to be the default or something. Don’t know.

          As far as I see it, the only company that actually locked out any other search engine from defaults was Microsoft. Both in Windows 10 S and in XBox One. Still It is Apple that gets the fame for closed systems etc etc. Microsoft it’s really trying to keep Google out of its precious Windows 10 future. Even Qualcomm seen it and decided to act, you know, not to piss Google off, what other reason they would have to be interested in porting Chrome to Window on ARM?

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      It's an Apple article so....que Mike!

  2. bertha leon

    Today we’re going to talk about WHAT MATTERS IN


  3. Jeffsters

    It's not a "hack"...seriously? Apple works to keep Google out? Really? Try clicking an address in Google, the default engine, search results. Yeah...working to keep Google out. Carry on!

  4. mayankdeync

    Wait.... U mean both assistant at the same time??

  5. behindmyscreen

    To be a little less awkward, I used "Get Google". Then it is like talking to someone to fetch someone else.

  6. jrickel96

    Maybe the 12 people that'll use it on iPhone will be thrilled. Despite how many Android installs there are, Google Assistant trails Siri by a wide margin still in real world usage. Growth in this segment is trailing expectations as well, so don't expect much to come of this.

  7. nbplopes

    It’s not a work around. That and many more is what Siri Shortcuts are for.

    Man your mind when it comes to Apple world, it’s just so insidious. It seams that you go to bed thinking “How can I turn a good thing into something really bad against them, and a bad thing into something despicable against them”.

    No, you cannot install their OSs in any machines but the ones they sell. That is it. Get over it!!!!!

    I guess haters, gonna hate.


    PS: By the way, both Amazon and Microsoft can do the same. Lock down much?

  8. derekaw

    I’m looking forward to this.

  9. VancouverNinja

    Can this be done for Cortana?

  10. mpfef98

    Just FYI - you don’t need to install the Shortcuts app to enable this. It works just with iOS 12. The Shortcuts app is only needed if you want to string together custom routines.

    Apps that enable Siri Shortcuts as standalone actions work without anything extra other than recording the phrase you want to use to activate it.

  11. glenn8878

    Okay, Begging for why I should bother.

  12. Pbike908

    I really get a kick out of how Tim Cook gets on his soap box about privacy - namely criticizing Google and Facebook.

    I wonder how many Iphones he would sell if he kick Facebook, Google Maps, and Google Assistant out of the app store? My guess is it would halve Iphone sales at the minimum.

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to Pbike908:

      I wonder what comments you, and the other bitter Apple trolls, would post if Apple did kick them out. Hypocrisy st it's worst.

      • puggsly

        In reply to Jeffsters:

        Why would Apple kick them out and what does that have to do with Hypocrisy? Apple does what it can to protect it's users privacy and calls out companies that don't. This both encourages those companies to do better and informs it's users.

        How is this Hypocritical?

    • jrickel96

      In reply to Pbike908:

      Users choose if they want to install those things unlike on some Android devices where you're stuck with certain things. The iPhone gives you a lot more choice about what apps you want installed or not. There are very few Apple apps anymore you can't uninstall on the phone. Can't say the same for Google Apps on Android phones and especially can't say the same for Samsung apps and other OEM apps for devices.

      Google will even still get info on you from their Android installs even if you have explicitly told them not to do so.

    • cawoodstock

      In reply to Pbike908:

      I’m not sure, iPhone users tend to be over the top loyal to Apple, so I’m guessing many would drop Google instead of Apple.

    • LT1 Z51

      In reply to Pbike908:

      Except that's up to the users. If you want to, you can ignore those apps. Apple isn't forcing you to give up your privacy. It's a choice to have your provacy invaded by Google. Just as the state of New Hampshire doesn't make you wear a seat-belt. You want to kill yourself, be your guest.

    • Detective Polarphant

      Haha - I never thought of it that way - it's an interesting point of view. These companies are terrible and will invade your privacy - come download their apps from our app store...

  13. Joshua Hudson

    LoL, clever. But not really surprising. Apple announced on stage at WWDC that any developer could create a Siri Shortcut, and even shipped a custom api that a developer could use that could launch ANY action in an app. Lots of apps have already shipped with Siri Shortcut support. The surprising part is it took Google 2 months after iOS 12 came out.

    For clarification. Siri Shortcuts is built into iOS 12 and allows a voice "shortcut" to be added to any "User Activity" exposed via api from an app. Check them out in Settings. I believe they are under Siri.

    The standalone Shortcuts app allows you to write custom workflows that can string multiple "User Activities" together or even run custom scripts. Any shortcut workflow written in the Shortcut App can be triggered via Siri Shortcuts.

  14. shonty

    Reading this post while eating sandwich, post taste good than sandwich though.........nice guide.