Science and Tech


Google Now Is Really Good At Answering Your Questions

An SEO consulting company says Google Now is better than Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana at answering your questions.
Posted at 8:12 AM, Oct 13, 2014

What happens when you pit voice-controlled assistants, Google Now, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, against each other? Google Now comes out a clear winner — but of what, exactly?

Stone Temple Consulting wanted to test which of the three major voice-controlled phone interfaces provided the most helpful answers. That is, which ones do the best job providing real answers, and not just search result listings. (Video via YouTube / Eric Enge)

And when the consulting company asked that specific question, Google Now blew away the competition. According to Stone Temple, of the more than 3,000 queries, Google Now provided the most results with added context, and also completely answered the most questions — 88 percent. The team says scoring was "harsh," and goes on to explain how it tallied the results. 

"If you asked 'how old is the great wall of China' and the knowledge panel result showed that the Great Wall was completed in 206 BC, you got no credit. In addition, even if the first regular web search result shows the result in its description or title, you also got no credit."

But is there really a reason to be surprised? A writer for The Verge reminds us Google knows a thing or two about search results. 

And, of note, the company used examples from Google's search engine to show what it was looking for when testing Google Now, Siri, and Cortana. 

That led several outlets to describe the study's results with words like "unsurprisingly" and "debatable" since Stone Temple appears to have used questions that would naturally play to Google Now's strengths.

Some other interesting findings, though — Bing came back with better results than Cortana for the same questions. It's a possible indication Microsoft could improve Cortana by better integrating its search engine. (Video via Microsoft)

Stone Temple says Siri completely answered just over half of the questions it posed — 53 percent — and Cortana completely answered 40 percent of its questions. (Video via Apple)