Siri has been reigning supreme in the iOS world for a while, but with rival Google Now coming to Siri’s home turf will she hold on to her postition as go-to voice assistant for iPhone users? Boston.com senior business producer Daniel Kline took the two out onto the streets of Boston to see which virtual assistant would get the job.
Being accessible by holding down the main button helped Siri win this round. Google Now requires you to open an app first.
Direct Search & Directions
When Daniel asked for directions to the Omni Parker House hotel Google Now knew exactly what he was talking about and where it was. Siri? Not so much. Her list of options didn’t even include the right hotel Daniel reported.
Search by Statement
“Neither produced a satisfactory answer to the query, “I’m thirsty,” and asking “Where can I get a cup of tea?” was equally unsuccessful. On the tea question, Siri asked if I wanted to do a Web search, while Google produced Web links to establishments that had the words “cup of tea” in their name. Simply asking for “coffee?” was more satisfying as both apps produced lists of nearby options, though neither offered up the Finagle A Bagel I was standing in front of.”
Let’s call this one a successful and unsuccessful tie.
Search by Question
When Daniel asked a question about the circus being in town both virtual assistants returned the circus’ website.
When he asked where he could find a burger, Siri pulled up some nearby burger joints while Google Now didn’t produce any results.
Clueless when it comes to pop culture? You might want to go with Google Now.
I asked both assistants, “Who are One Direction?” Siri did not appear to know and offered up a list of Web links not related to the band. Google, however, knew exactly what I was asking and it offered up links to both the band’s website and its Wikipedia page.
When it comes to the Red Sox, though, both apps know their stuff. They both produced graphical information when asked about the next Sox game. Results were a bit iffier when Daniel wanted to know about the Bruins playoffs schedule. Siri had nothing and all Google could muster up was a link to the Bruins website.
This one was close and it seemed to be hit or miss overall, but in the end Google Now inched ahead with slightly better results than Siri.
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