Apple buys Cue, a Google Now-esque personal assistant service

Cue logoAnonymous sources are telling several outlets (including AppleInsider and TechCrunch) that Apple has just purchased Cue, a personal assistant service with more than a few similarities to Google Now. News of the acquisition (which, according to various sources, cost Apple somewhere between $35 and $60 million) follows the complete shuttering of the service yesterday.

Cue (once called Greplin) could pull data from a number of services including Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter. It would then organize this data and present you with a unified list of relevant information whenever you opened the app. Android users with Google Now enabled already enjoy similar functionality—Google Now will dynamically track packages or show you the status of flights, for example, based on data it pulls from your configured e-mail accounts. With Apple's purchase of Cue, we would not be surprised to see Siri become capable of the same kinds of tasks in the future (in fact, this was something we asked for in our iOS 7 review).

Cue iOS

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino posits that the service could also be used to improve the "Today" section of iOS 7's Notification Center. Currently, the feature can show you the weather and a brief summary of your upcoming day based on your calendar appointments, but Cue's ability to reach beyond your calendar for this sort of information could make the feature more appealing.

Apple buys Cue, a Google Now-esque personal assistant service

The bad news for existing Cue users is that the service has completely shut down. Customers who had opted in to the Cue Premium service "will receive a prorated refund" or can request a refund through the iTunes store. All Cue users' data has been deleted rather than transferred.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple

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