Google Now reigns triumphant in virtual assistant battle with Siri

Image courtesy of Gizmodo

Image courtesy of Gizmodo

Apple’s Siri virtual assistant is getting better all the time, but Google Now still takes the biscuit, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Munster ran both virtual assistants through a battery of tests, and shared the results in a new research note, published Tuesday. He concluded that Android’s voice search correctly answers questions asked 84 percent of the time, while Apple’s Siri follows up behind with a still impressive 82 percent correct rate.

Notably, Munster points out that both platforms have come on in leaps and bounds since he first ran the virtual assistant test back in December 2012. Even as recently as last December, Munster graded both Siri and Google Now with identical C+ grades. In his latest rankings, Siri has worked her way up to a B-, while Google Voice is doing better still with a firm B grade.

The test was carried out in a controlled environment — with the kind of background noise that could realistically be expected for a user on their smartphone indoors–as well as an uncontrolled test, in which background noise remained at around 80 decibels.

Munster’s findings can be seen below:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 16.09.24

Picture: Piper Jaffray

Much of Google’s advantage in the field of virtual assistants has been its ability to make use of the search giant’s Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Play functions to provide answers to queries.

Interestingly, it seems that Apple is moving away from reliance on Google to provide Siri answers — with just 3 percent of questions using data from Google’s services, versus the 27 percent that did so in December 2012. In particular, Apple has transitioned away from using Google Maps, while default search results now come from Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

“We believe Siri will continue increasing the number of queries it can answer without consulting outside sources,” Munster wrote in his research note. “This is important because if Siri consistently directs users to other search engines, they will be more likely to simply use Google/another search engine instead of going through Siri.”

One area Apple could improve on, and Google is currently doing well in, relates to the filtering of search results by price and hours of availability. Google Now lets users sort results based on price, location, rating and hours, while Siri offers no such feature.

Overall, however, both services are getting noticeably better — and that can ultimately only be a good thing for users.

Source: Piper Jaffray

Via: Apple Insider