Smartphone, smartphone in my hand, who’s the fairest of them all? Aside from our bad rhyming skills, the answer to that question must be fairly obvious, but in the interest of those who want actual numbers and statistics, a study conducted by SEO consulting firm Stone Temple showed a clear winner in the battle of the digital assistants. A test conducted on the built-in search assistants from Google, Apple and Microsoft showed that, of course, the search giant was miles away in terms of accuracy of results, although it might be lacking in the fun department.

Using Google Now (built-in to the Google App) and Siri on an iPhone 4s and iPhone 5, and Cortana (still in beta version) on a Nokia Lumia 635 Windows phone, they presented each platform with 3000 voice queries to test them not on their capability as a digital assistant, but on the results presented in the knowledge box. It’s not really a surprise that Google Now scored the highest in terms of most enhanced results and complete answer. In fact, it was no contest at all, with its score of 88%, compared to 53% for Siri and 40% for Cortana.


Google Now, of course, is not infallible, although it gives more varied results than the other two as it pulls answers from varied sources and presents it in varied ways, including carousel results, step by step instructions, a structured snippet included in the regular search results, and others. Siri doesn’t only source its results from Wolfram Alpha (which they tried to position as a Google killer before) but also from Wikipedia, Yahoo and Bing. And a lot of people have whiled away minutes asking Siri silly questions to get funny answers, so we can’t really say that people use it for actual information.

As for Cortana, the newest kid on the block, so to speak, most of the results in the tested queries sent YouTube results to answer the questions, which is often not helpful at all. It also uses data from the Oxford dictionary and Wikipedia. However, it seems to not still be fully integrated with Bing, the Windows search engine. But the study shows that Cortana’s accuracy will improve if they completely integrate it with its own search engine. Nevertheless, both Siri and Cortina have a long way to go in terms of catching up to Google Now, based on this study (and probably most of our real-life experience).

SOURCE: Stone Temple