If Yahoo! doesn't have that kind of scratch, neither does Facebook -- let alone Twitter and the rest of the small fry.
I once talked to a friend of mine who has been working in the now-hot area of speech recognition services for 15 years about how he views a service like Siri and whether it could one day retrain all of us to ask a personal assistant for information instead of typing in a query into a search box.
He thought it was definitely possible but he said something very interesting to me about how they are going about that goal.
"Google has a lot of really amazing speech rec people working for them. In fact, they're much better than the speech rec people employed at Apple, in my view," he said. "But Apple is amazing in AI. They're way ahead of Google in AI."
Apple's obviously making a big bet on AI. Is it working?
Most have written off Siri. "It doesn't work," they say. The version 2 is better but not enough to knock people's socks off.
However, as with the new Maps service, Apple's collecting tons of data every day from Siri and Maps. It's then throwing its AI at those data full force -- finding the relationships that will form the basis for real intelligence down the line.
The promise of "big data" will be realized, but it's going to happen through AI, with lots of money and lots of time.
At the time of publication the author had positions in YHOO and GOOG.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.