After Google announced its new Google Now feature as part of Jelly Bean, the comparisons to Siri were inevitable. Jelly Bean hasn’t officially rolled out to every Galaxy Nexus user yet, but we’re already seeing some comparisons between Siri and Google Now.
The first comparison is a video from TechnoBuffalo. The video shows Siri and Google Now side-by-side as the videographer asks the two services questions at the same time. The video shows the iOS 6 Beta version of Siri, so the service is able to check recent sports scores.
The video shows the Google Now has an edge over Siri in terms of speed. The service can answer faster because it transcribes the speech into text much faster. This is probably because Jelly Bean has the data for voice recognition built into the OS so it doesn’t need to send the data to Google’s servers. Siri still needs to communicate with servers to figure out what users are saying.
Siri also is also a bit more wordy than Google Now, offering some brief commentary on most responses. It’s not necessary, but it adds a sort of human element to the responses. Google Now, however, has a less robotic voice than Siri which adds its small part of humanity.
Another comparison between the two comes from Piper Jaffray Apple analyst Gene Munster (you may know him as the man who started talking about an Apple TV several years ago and hasn’t stopped since). According to Fortune, Munster asked both Siri and Google 1,600 questions: 800 in a quiet room and 800 on the streets of Minneapolis. Keep in mind, however, that Munster merely typed the questions into Google instead of speaking them.
The results of the test were:
- Google understands 100% of the questions (not surprisingly, since they are keyed in)
- Google replies accurately 86% of the time
- Siri comprehends 83% of queries in noisy conditions, 89% in a quiet room
- Siri answers accurately 62% of the time on the street and 68% in a quiet room.
Based on the results, Google seems more reliable than Siri, especially when the user types in the questions. Munster expects Siri to improve in iOS 6, however, when the service starts relying less on Google.
Siri currently gets 60 percent of its information from Google, 20 percent from Yelp, 14 percent from Wolfram Alpha, 4 percent from Yahoo, and 2 percent from Wikipedia. In iOS 6 Siri will only rely on Google 48 percent of the time and will add other services like Rotten Tomatoes, Yahoo Sports, OpenTable, and Fandango.
Google Now uses Google for most responses, but also aggregates responses from Wikipedia and Zagat (which Google owns).
Unless Siri improves a lot between the current iOS 6 Beta and the final release, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Google taking shots at Apple’s service. Google Now simply seems to respond faster and more accurately, and has multiple other uses.