Apple launched Siri in October 2011 as the future of personal assistants , a new approach that takes simple voice commands much further to transform them into a conversational speech recognition system whose possibilities will expand even further with the launch of iOS 6.
The competition soon responded with comments like those of Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google, downplaying Siri’s claim that “we shouldn’t communicate with the phone” in a natural way, that voice commands were enough. Well, everyone is entitled to make mistakes and rectify them, as demonstrated by the main novelty of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean , or S Voice , the Samsung assistant born from his usual source of inspiration. But we don’t care about all this in the least. What matters is… which is the best assistant by voice?
Siri v. S Voice
Samsung introduced its own personal assistant alongside the Samsung Galaxy S III on 3 May this year. So, in this first comparison we have an iPhone 4S with iOS 5.1 versus an S3 with the customized version by the Korean manufacturer of Android 4.0. A clear victory for Apple by a wide margin even if we forget that S Voice
is a mute system that forces us to read the screen without exception many of its results and is more coarse in the interpretation of natural language.
Siri is not only considerably faster in recognizing user commands and instructions but it also gets all the questions asked right while S3 gets to think indefinitely about one of them and fails at the first attempt to recognize another. Otherwise, both assistants offer very similar results although Siri requires less interaction to set a timer, activating it directly instead of asking us if we want to edit, activate or cancel it as S Voice does.
Siri vs. Google Search (Jelly Bean)
One of the undisputed protagonists of Google IO 2012 that took place last week was the new Android version 4.1, Jelly Bean, and its renewed voice recognition system. Google may have initially resisted Siri’s proposed change, but there is no doubt that the company’s engineers know how to get up to speed quickly by taking on a competitor ready to stand up to Siri.
Leaving aside Google Now, a rather scary system that analyzes all our movements to anticipate our queries by providing relevant information such as the traffic situation on the way home or train schedules if we are in the station, the new Google Search beats Siri (or at least, reaches) even in its latest beta for iOS 6 . It may still rely too much on the same voice commands of Android 4.0, far from the natural language recognition that Siri uses, but in the end the feeling it leaves is more than positive.
TellMe vs. Siri, ¿el sistema de reconocimiento de voz de Microsoft es equiparable al de Apple?
Google Search is slightly faster (although probably more for an interface and animations than anything else), has a nice voice (also female) somewhat less robotic than Siri’s and stands out for a clear, direct and simple design. Siri, on the other hand, offers more complete answers and stands out again by allowing us to do without the screen to give and adjust the instructions by voice only, conversing with the assistant (which is a big plus if we’re driving -see free eyes function- or doing some activity like running), but it becomes clear that Apple has to get its act together .
I never tire of repeating that Siri is the future (and so are the attendees like him) but so far Apple has not been able to make it evolve with the speed that the market demands. First, by not delivering on its promise to offer Spanish-language support by the beginning of the year, delaying it until the release of iOS 6 next fall; and second, by introducing improvements that, given what we have seen, may not be enough. Will Jelly Bean serve as a reagent for iOS 6’s unannounced new features, or will we have to wait for future updates?