Apple’s Siri Gets a ‘D’ Grade, Google Search Gets ‘B+’

Posted on 30 Jun 2012 at 10:23am

You’ve seen that insufferable iPhone 4S commercial where Zooey Deschanel tromps around in pajamas while using the voice-activated personal assistant Siri. Anyways we have that commercial for you here.

 

But a recent analysis by Piper Jaffray makes makes you wonder whether Zooey Deschanel might actually be more intelligent than Siri.

Piper Jaffray tech analyst Gene Munster conducted an exhaustive analysis on the accuracy of Siri’s answers compared to Google’s search results. The analysis rated Google with a B+ (86%) for accuracy of answers, while Siri scored a D (62%) for accuracy.

Google-vs-Siri

The analysis posed 1600 questions to both Siri and Google. For Siri, 800 questions were asked in a quiet room and another 800 were asked on a busy street with a pair of Skull Candy earbuds for enhanced hearing comprehension. Siri was able to properly comprehend the question with 89% accuracy indoors, and 83% accuracy outdoors.

It’s the actual answering of the questions that tends to trip Siri up. Her most common flaw is that she answers the previous question, rather than the one you just asked. She also gets your current location wrong on a frequent basis.

Siri appears more concerned with getting you to buy things than actually answering your questions. On the question “When did the movie ‘Cinderella’ come out?‘, Siri responded with current movie theater times via Yelp. When asked ‘What spices are in lasagna?’, Siri searched on restaurants near you that serve lasagna. When asked about the location of Lake Superior, Siri directs you to companies with Superior in their name.

She’s a little too eager to monetize your questions. Siri actually relies on Google searches to answer 60% of her questions. Piper Jaffray predits that she will use Google to answer only 48% of questions once she is upgraded to iOS 6.

Granted, in this case the comparison is unfair. Siri’s questions were all posed via voice, whereas the Google questions were asked via text search. Why doesn’t someone actually put Siri’s latest, greatest iOS6 beta 2 version up against Google’s voice assistant in Andriod 4.1 Jelly Bean, for real handsfree-to-handsfree combat?

TechnoBuffalo compared Siri in iOS6 with the voice assistant on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in a video available online. Android answered each question more quickly, and in a substantially more human-sounding voice.

But just like anything in tech, this comparison may become obsolete within a month or two. Siri will likely be greatly enhanced with the full release of iOS6 this Autumn.