While largely peaceful protests against police brutality and racist prejudice continue in the United States, Apple and Google have updated some of their key services to support the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly to optimize their maps and AI assistants. The optimizations provide users with up-to-date information about protest-related road changes as well as a response to the suggestion that "all life is important". These come along with other changes in the couple's ubiquitous smartphone and tablet operating systems.
In the case of Apple, the changes are more than just text-deep. The Apple Maps app has been updated with new satellite imagery to reflect the new name of Washington, D.C. Black Lives Matter Plaza, including massive yellow street signage visible from the sky – and right next to the White House. The national search for Black Lives Matter in Maps now leads directly to the square, which was one of the most important protest sites in the US capital. In contrast, Google has updated its own map app so that it can be searched for the location of the place. However, there are still no new satellite images illuminating the protests.
In addition, Apple's AI assistant Siri now answers questions such as "Are black lives important?" with a simple "yes" and redirects users to the movement's website. Siri also offers a strong answer to the common counter "Is all life important?" To the latter question, Siri says: "All life is important" is often used in response to the phrase "Black Lives Matter", but it does not represent the same concerns. "Siri then redirects users to the Black Lives Matter website instead of making it easier to find alternatives. A standard Siri search for information about the Black Lives Matter movement leads to a Wikipedia-based knowledge map and multiple links.
Google Assistant Response to "Are Black Lives Important?" notes that "recognizing the injustice they face is the first step in removing access to" the same freedoms that are granted to everyone in this country. "This text describes an automatic Google search option for" How can I help the Black Community? "Displayed. When asked" Is all life important? "Google Assistant replies that" Black life is important "does not mean that not all lives are important. It means that black lives are in one In this case, no automatic search option is available. The same answers and links are displayed on Android phones and in the Google Assistant app for Apple devices.
Apple also has a feature called "Resist racism”In the app stores for iOS, iPadOS and macOS, where users are redirected to apps for voter registration, news, education and fundraisers. The Google Play Store has not yet been updated with a similar feature. However, it is likely that companies will continue to improve both their operating system offerings and app store features as protests against Black Lives Matter grow in strength and numbers worldwide.