A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

For large IT companies in 2016 not to have their own voice assistant is simply a disgrace. Apple has Siri, Amazon – Alexa, version Microsoft name is Cortana, and Google refused to give Google your private Assistant female name. Of course, all these companies openly admit that their assistants are in the development stage. The speech recognition technology, and reactions in artificial intelligence that it has not worked. But using them already, and then they need to perform their functions.


A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Users regularly scoff at these assistants, asking them inappropriate questions or bewilders background noise, writes iGate.com. How about to test these helpers for their intended purpose? Columnist Jeff Dunn for 8 hours tested voice assistants Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana and Alexa, asking bots everyday, everyday issues. And here are the results.

Question: How to get to the bus station, the Port of Authority?


Google Assistant: Orient immediately and opened Google Maps route.

Siri: More or less understood what it’s about: given a search result with six different sites with a similar name and said “you mean the bus station in new York?” After confirmation – open the route in Apple Maps.

Alexa: Considering that it’s an assistant, “sitting” in the Bluetooth column, any chance she had. However, she found through the search engine right place and provided the address and time. In their “companion” app for mobile didn’t show anything.


Cortana: Given a list of three suitable places, but after answering “Yes, the first of them” went to a search engine to search for the word “first”. Not the best result.

Winner: Google Assistant

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: What’s with the traffic jam on the way to the Empire state building?

Google Assistant and Siri both spoke about the condition of the roads, gave estimated time of travel, and Google Assistant also showed the route in maps.

Alexa: is able to calculate the tube only to “home”. And “home” must specify in advance in the application settings.

Cortana: show widget with information about the building.

Winner: Google Assistant

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: Call me Uber

Google Assistant: do not know how to do it. But in December, the code will open for third-party developers, and then we’ll see.

Siri: Worked perfectly. If you have the Uber app, it asks which plan you prefer, then shows a map which displays the next machine, the waiting time and estimated cost. After confirmation is a car.

Alexa: If you download the “skill” Uber doing about the same thing – adjusted for the fact that it is still in the talking column of the screen.

Cortana: Also works – what type of machine and the place of destination, she will arrange everything.

Winner: Siri (for the thoughtfulness and detail)

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: Send a letter to Jeff Dunn

Google Assistant and Siri: Both recognize the desired contact in the address book, listened to the message dictated and sent. Siri is proposed to clarify the subject, Google Assistant more features of the interface. The only difference is that both only work with mail their products, and gmail is still popular.

Alexa: don’t understand the question.

Cortana: does roughly the same thing, but identified the addressee is not at the first attempt, and besides could not understand, send an email or text message.

Winner: Google Assistant

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: I Have a new letter?

Google Assistant: silence showed a card with two rather old letters. Click sent to an isolated page with the contents of the letter, not even in the app.

Siri: announced how many new messages since yesterday and then showed them – and only them – in a simple widget.

Alexa: how and Google, gave a random old email.

Cortana: went to a search engine to look for “new messages” in it. No, thank you.

Winner: Siri

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: I Read Twitter

Google Assistant: gave a result of search engine. But, again, twitter – third-party application and “assistant” will open next month.

Siri: didn’t understand the wording. Now, if you ask her about “popular tweets” or “find on Twitter #new year”, she does everything right.

Alexa: was the most useful. Can read the latest popular tweets / recent tweets that you liked or that you mentioned.

Cortana: I do not understand, about what speech.

Winner: Alexa

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: Turn on some new music

Google Assistant: approached the matter with humor and turned on the album “New” (“New”) Paul McCartney. Ancient this only Beethoven with Mozart.

Siri: to enable random playback of existing music.

Alexa: you chose the last song that you added to the Amazon Library. And do not argue…

Cortana: I went to search for clips with “new music” in the description.

Winner: Alexa closest

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: What will the weather be tomorrow?

For a change, all the helpers understood the question and answered it, although Siri showed the weakest result, she said simply, “I think tomorrow will be Sunny” and showed a widget, and the other read the forecast completely.

Winner: Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana.

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

The next question was a test of the ability of the program to understand the context: “what’s in Boston?”

Google Assistant and Cortana managed to keep track of the context and gave the forecast for Boston. Siri and Alexa with the concept of “context” is not familiar to get the answer, had to ask “how’s the weather tomorrow will be in Boston.”

Winner: Google Assistant and Cortana

Question: What have I got planned for tomorrow?

All applications looked at how many meetings is in the calendar, and then read out. While Cortana and Siri are attracted to native applications and Google Alexa and Assistant use Google calendar. That in General it is more convenient.

Winner: Alexa and Google Assistant

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: Look for a Chinese restaurant nearby

All the assistants have coped with the task, but the best result was shown Siri: showed the nearest place his rating on Yelp and price category, and wondered whether to book a table or get directions. And Yes, a list of other places nearby attached.

Winner: Siri

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: How to ask in Spanish where is the library?

Seemingly banal question about the translation

Google Assistant: successfully translated and said aloud.

Siri: went to search Bing.

Alexa: just do not understand, about what speech.

Cortana: moved and spoke.

Winner:Google Assistant and Cortana

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: What’s the news today?

Assistant Google and Alexa showed widget with the main news of the day. Assistant at the same time Google launched the original hold of news from different sources.

Siri: given the unfortunate phrase “here’s the news about the latest news today” and showed search widget.

Cortana: first booked a talk show “Today”, but when you try to ask again – the dictionary definition of “news”. M-Ah.

Winner: Google Assistant

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

Question: let’s play a game

Google Assistant: given the set of games to choose from, asked about preferences, and generally well done.

Siri: didn’t understand what I mean.

Alexa: invited to play in “stone-scissors-paper”. Verbal. But then I didn’t play.

Cortana: it seems there is only one game – it gives hints about a movie and have to guess what it was. When asked about the “other game” has officially gone to search

Winner: Google Assistant

A journalist for 8 hours asking questions of Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa and compared the quality of answers

The results

If the scatter of the results did not feel it – none of the modern voice assistants can not be called perfect, they still need lot of improvements. Each of them is a fragile network of loosely connected services, so it is impossible to understand, cope if any of them trivial, ignore you or just go to a search engine. They all require access to personal data, and they are all terribly picky about wording.

For most tasks to use the browser much easier. Besides, talking on the street in public with an inanimate object, I feel very stupid.

At the moment feels like the best of helpers – Google Assistant, the author of the experiment. It is most often understand the first time, the best will recognize the context. Moreover, Google is “sitting” on just huge amounts of data and they are obviously going to use them to improve the service. And yet it is felt that the assistant made a lively, creative and with soul.

Siri feels more like part of your device, but the rest is patchwork. It required an individual application for almost any task.

Alexa is good for its genre, it’s still just a microphone with speaker. She performs simple tasks, through it you can order something in the online store. All.

Cortana is a voice for such a bot for Bing.

One thing is certain – in the future, these assistants will take over the world. And at the moment Google is the most convenient starting point.

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