Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is trying to upstage Siri, the sometimes droll assistant that answers questions and helps people manage their lives on Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and iPad.

The duel began Monday with the release of a free iPhone and iPad app that features Google Now, a technology that performs many of the same functions as Siri.

It’s the first time that Google Now has been available on devices that aren’t running on the latest version of Google Inc.’s Android software.

“Many of us can no longer imagine life without our smartphones. We use them for all sorts of things, like getting reminders of important calendar appointments (say, a first date), and driving directions to the Italian restaurant where your table for two awaits. Today, with the launch of Google Now on iPhone and iPad, your smartphone will become even smarter,” Google proclaimed in a blog.

“Google Now is about giving you just the right information at just the right time. It can show you the day’s weather as you get dressed in the morning, or alert you that there’s heavy traffic between you and your butterfly-inducing date—so you’d better leave now! It can also share news updates on a story you’ve been following, remind you to leave for the airport so you can make your flight and much more. There’s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most—and the more you use Google Now, the more you get out of it.

“{Google Now for iPhone and iPad is available as part of the updated Google Search app. Together, Google Now and voice search will make your day run a little smoother.”

The 9-month-old technology is part of an upgrade to Google’s search application for iOS, the Apple Inc. software that powers the iPhone and iPad.

Google Now’s invasion of Siri’s turf marks Google Inc.’s latest attempt to lure iPhone and iPad users away from a service that Apple built into its own devices.

Google Now offers more information online.