Google Voice Search vs. Siri: Which is Better?

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By Mary Elaine Ramos | July 2, 2012 4:42 PM EST

Siri was first introduced by Apple through its iPhone 4S which was become a hit to smartphone users all over the world. Google introduced a similar voice-like search feature in Google called Google voice search. This feature would supposedly Google's own "Siri-like" version plus more. This leads to the important question of: Is Google voice search much better than Apple's Siri?

Gene Muster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray, sought to answer the same question by performing a test that puts the Google Voice Search and Siri head to head. In the test, there were 800 questions asked to both Google Voice search and Siri in two different settings. The first setting involves a quiet and serene environment while the other setting is a very busy location with lots of street traffic noise. Here is the result of the test conducted to both features:

Google Voice Search

Quiet Environment: 

  • Understood questions - 100%
  • Accuracy of answers - 86%

Noisy Environment:

  • Understood questions - 100%
  • Accuracy of answers - 86%

Siri

Quiet Environment:

  • Understood questions - 89%
  • Accuracy of answers - 68%

Noisy Environment:

  • Understood questions - 83%
  • Accuracy of answers - 63%

The study emphasized that it is not comparing the performance for both devices. Instead, the study is more focused on how the features perform in these types of environment. As shown in the results, Google considerably fared better as compared to Apple's Siri especially in a noisy environment. The study also mentioned that the reason why Google performed accurately is due to the fact that the company is more focused on searches and development of the search application. On the other hand, Siri is also much dependent on Google in terms of searching for answers which could possibly explained the accuracy rate that it got from the test.

Despite that, there is a possibility that Siri could still improve due to Apple's move to be less dependent on Google search.

Here is an excerpt of the study's explanation:

Google provides 60% of answers today, 48% when iOS 6 ships. We estimate that changes to Siri iOS 6 will decrease dependency on Google by 12%, from 60% to 48%. Apple has made several significant changes to Siri on iOS 6 that will decrease Siri's dependency on Google. First and foremost, Apple's in-house maps app will eliminate Siri's dependency on Google for navigation. Second, Siri's new integration of Yahoo Sports, Open Table, Rotten Tomatoes, and Fandango will provide answers for sports scores and statistics, restaurant reservations, movie show times, and ticket purchases.

Presently, Siri only supports a handful of languages including English (Australia, United Kingdom, United States), French, German, and Japanese. As for Google voice search, it supports a lot more languages which includes  English (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, US), French, Italian, Spanish (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, US, Uruguay, Venezuela),  German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese (Traditional Taiwan, Simplified China, Simplified Hong Kong), Yue Chinese (Traditional Hong Kong), Czech, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Dutch, Afrikaans, Indonesian, Malaysian, Zulu, Latin, Pig-Latin, and Arabic.

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