Google has been in a scramble to come up with a worthy match for Apple’s Siri since the company launched it in iPhone 4S in 2011. At first, the idea of telling the phone to do something sounded plainly weird, maybe even impractical, but Apple showed that it can be done. Commanding the phone by voice saves time and is simpler and classy for most people. During this year’s annual Google I/O Developer conference, the company rolled out improvements to its search on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with better voice actions. How does it compare with Apple’s Siri?
Gene Munster studied the two and contrasted them. The study was made up of 800 questions asked in a quiet setting and another 800 in a busy location with street traffic noise. Surprisingly, Google search understood 100% of the questions and was able to return accurate answers 86% of the time but Siri understood only 83% of the questions in a noisy environment and 89% of the questions asked in a quiet environment. Siri could answer 63% questions accurately in a noisy environment and 68% in a quiet environment.
Note that the study was not comparing the services offered by either but how the search feature performed in the two environments. I should point out that the new Google voice Search application for Android comes with the Google Now feature which works as a personal voice assistant.
Google’s performance is probably because the company the company focuses on searches and development of the search application will boost the company’s revenues which come from advertising. Siri on the other hand is not primarily a search engine but uses various search engines to find answers to the user’s questions. According to this study, 60% of Siri’s answers come from Google, 20% from Yelp, 14% come from WolframAlpha, 4% come from yahoo and 2% from Wikipedia. Perhaps Apple will improve Siri’s search performance with the expected updates on iOS 6.