Since the launch of competitor services like Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana, many mainstream technology news outlets have suggested that Siri is inferior to Google Now and on the verge of being surpassed by Cortana.
But as a result of a recent survey conducted by Experts Exchange, Siri has proved, at least in this instance, that she is preferred over her competitors. The witty digital assistant beat out both Google Now and Cortana in the customer satisfaction survey with an overall score of 81% satisfaction from users. Experts Exchange said that, “the survey results are pretty much unanimous: Siri is the favorite virtual assistant.”
Each participant in the survey was assigned either Siri, Google Now or Cortana and was tasked with making seven different requests through their assigned service and reporting the performance in different areas. Some of the particulars that Experts Exchange looked for was to see whether the services performed mere web searches (which always drives me nuts), asked follow-up questions, returned the wrong answers, or just frankly annoyed their users.
Siri received the highest marks for customer satisfaction with a score of 81% compared to 68% for Google Now and a dismal 57% for Cortana. Siri also scored the best in accuracy and efficiency, she had the lowest percentage of incorrect answers, and also asked fewer follow up questions before completing the requested task.
The nuances behind why people were more satisfied with Siri are not noted in the results, but I think it’s a good bet that Siri’s personality played a significant role. Unlike both Google now and Cortana, Siri has been given a more human personality that expresses sarcasm and wittiness among other traits. At least in my experience with the different services, that personal touch makes Siri a much more enjoyable service to use. The other obvious reason that Siri fared so well in this survey are the iOS 9 improvements that Apple made to the service. The two big new features are proactivity, which has been Google Now’s marquee feature, and smarter search.
In iOS 9, Siri will proactively suggest things to you before you ask. For example, let’s say your morning routine is to run every morning. If there is a favorite playlist in the music app that you open up before your run, Siri will learn that preference and start bringing it up when you connect your headphones before your run. Siri has always fairly competent when searching for information, but in iOS 9 Siri is deeply integrated into Spotlight search and the results show.
Say, for instance, you searched for a chocolate chip cookie recipe in an app the other day but now you can’t remember where it was. If you search for “chocolate chip cookie” in the search bar, Siri will show you the recipe and the app you were viewing it in. Keep in mind that this deep app integration must be supported by the app for the feature to work, but many developers have already updated their apps to include the functionality.
In many ways, your choice of a digital assistant is personal preference, which for most people comes down to the operating system you use. I think Siri, whose development was slow for a few years, has benefited from the competition from Google and Microsoft, and because of that, we have seen some major updates to the service in the past few months.
It seems that for now Siri has pulled ahead of Google Now and Cortana, and might continue to reign supreme well into the future.
What do you think? Is Siri better than Google Now or Cortana?