TMCnet Feature
July 05, 2012

Apple's Siri is Available in Beta but Google Now is More Frequently Praised by Reviewers

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Apple’s Siri isn’t meant for searching. When it was launched in October, it was basically meant as an intelligent virtual assistant, according to news reports.

Now in a beta version, Siri, on the iPhone (News - Alert) 4S, sets reminders, sends text messages and makes appointments, according to a recent report from the Business Insider.

On the other hand, there is Google Now, focused on searching via voice power, Business Insider said. It is a digital assistant for Jelly Bean, which works via the Android (News - Alert) operating system. Jelly Bean is expected to launch later this month. Business Insider projects it will take another year before most Android OS users can actually use Google (News - Alert) Now – but it is certainly getting noticed in industry reviews.

“Google Now is a lot more impressive than Siri,” according to a recent review by Business Insider. “Google Now fills in all the gaps left by Siri, and does pretty much everything else a whole lot better. This is how search should work on mobile devices…Google has already beaten Siri with Google Now.”

Google Now is also much quicker than Siri in finding answers to questions, the review said. The service helps with translation and currency conversions as well.

When iOS 6 – Apple's new mobile operating system – is launched this fall, Siri will be included and will be upgraded. It will give scores for sporting events, movie times and reviews for restaurants. That may improve it a bit, but there is a long way to go.

“[Google Now] succeeds in doing what Siri does, but in a very different way,” said a review from Ping! Zine. “You won’t hear a voice talking back to you. The platform automatically syncs up helpful listings pertaining to user locations, what they’re doing and when they’re doing them. Users can manage helpful resources via what Google refers to as cards.”

“[Siri] has received a lot of criticism from consumers, with many saying it does not do many of the things Apple shows it doing in its commercials,” added a recent Los Angeles Times review carried by TMCnet. “But those were only anecdotes until now, thanks to an analyst who has given Siri a rigorous test that shows she is currently doing poorly at her job.”

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray recently showed that Siri understood 83 percent of his questions asked during noisy times and 89 percent of his questions asked during quiet times, according to TMCnet. Siri answered 62 percent of the questions asked under noise correctly and 68 percent of the questions under quiet.

Questions typed into Google were understood all the time, and Google reportedly answered them correctly 86 percent of the time.

"In order to become a viable mobile search alternative Siri must match or surpass Google's accuracy of B+ and move from a grade D to a B or higher," Munster told Fortune magazine, TMCnet reported.

In addition, The LA Times reports Siri receives 60 percent of its answers from Google, 20 percent from Yelp (News - Alert), 14 percent from WolframAlpha, 4 percent from Yahoo and 2 percent from Wikipedia, Munster said.

Google Now was recently unveiled during Google’s annual I/O conference.

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Edited by Braden Becker
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