Motorola pits Apple's Siri against Google's Voice Actions

Motorola pits Apple's Siri against Google's Voice Actions

Summary: Apple never really touted speed as one of Siri's strong points.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, Apps, Google

Motorola pitches Google's Voice Actions on the Atrix 2, Photon 4G and Electrify smartphones up against the Apple's Siri voice assistant on the iPhone 4S.

Which will be victorious? Here are the results:

On all three handsets Voice Actions is faster than Siri, so Voice Actions wins, right?

Well, maybe not. See, Apple never really touted speed as one of Siri's strong points. Siri's strong point is in being able to understand natural language, and what you notice from this demo is that the commands being given are robotic and a little unnatural (notice the word 'period' being used, as well as the phrase 'note to self,' neither of which sounds all that natural).

Also, when you take a look at the whole video, you see places where Apple could tighten up Siri and make it significantly faster by tightening up the experience, especially with regards to mapping and web browsing.

Voice Actions might be faster, but Siri is still easier to use. Also, fair play to both competitors, voice recognition has come a long way in the past few years. Both Siri and Voice Actions are a wonderful example of just how far things have come.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Apps, Google

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  • It isn't just the speed

    The accuracy is higher as well... Funny thing is, My Android phone uses this and I didn't even know it was updated until I saw that article yesterday.

    Everything seems to work.

    That's another thing... They pushed a button and used them at the same time so how is Siri easier to use?
    • Yeah, and grafitti was more accurate than

      raw handwriting recognition. Of course you'll get good accuracy if you keep yourself within the limits of the software. Saying period after every sentence in order to get accurate punctuation isn't something to brag about.
  • Interesting

    Isn't this just a copy of Microsoft's "Smoked by a Windows Phone" promotion that they started back at CES? Only less interesting.
    • no

      Android has had voice commands for 2 years or more... They only added features to it.
      • Voice commands

        were also an aftermarket feature of Windows mobile via either the Cybertron Voice Command or Microsoft Voice Command - which is the ONE thing I miss going from WM to iOS. The MVC was tightly integrated with WM. By contrast my experience with Android so far has lacked. I do not however use Google Voice Actions on my Samsung so I'll have to give that a try. UPDATE: Google Voice Actions is not in the App Market - a paid program called Voice Actions is.

        Here's a question for you - what app do you use to have your Android device automatically reconnect to 3G/4G when coming from an area where there is no service? Right now I have to put my device in Airplane Mode for a few then take it back out of Airplane Mode to reset the radio.
      • And?

        That has nothing to do with the fact that Motorola is copying Microsoft's "Smoked by a Windows Phone" promotion.
      • voice commands

        @Pete "athynz" Athens

        I never have an issue with dropped connections and if they have an outage it just connects back up when finished.

        As for Samsung, sadly they replaced the Google Speech to Text with Nuance stuff that I found lacking myself. In general, I don't care for touchwiz.
      • okay

        @ccrockett@... I had no idea they were and I only saw this video last night. I don't even think they put it in a commercial.
    • "Smoked by a Windows Phone" was rigged

      If you alter the conditions to favor one phone, you can achieve the desired results.
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • And you think these guys didn't cherry-pick?

        Michael Alan Goff
      • ???

        Did you watch the videos, my guess is no. The people got to choose the competed action, i.e. text, facebook update, directions, etc. Please tell me how Microsoft rigged that?
  • Siri's advantage is natural speech..

    Android devices are just doing simple text to speech.. if you don't say the correct key phrases and in right order it messes up and you need to do the query again..

    If you don't say it just right you do the query multiple times.. how does that affect the speed..

    Machines bending and adapting to the way we want to do things is apon us.. Us bending to the way machines do thing is the past.. systems like Siri are the future..
    • umm

      You might want to watch the video and it is speech to text.
  • Can't tell

    "Control your phone" is a pretty restrictive description. What happens if you ask the two of them "Who is John Galt?" or "How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"
    Robert Hahn
    • Android Answers

      "Who is John Galt" results in a web search with the "Who is John Galt" Wikipedia entry at the top.
      "How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Results in a web search with the Urban dictionary listing at the top.

      But who would ask a phone those questions in real life?
      • The problem is...

        Siri was revolutionary to Apple fans and there is no way Google would be able to make something work better in 3.5 months! Guess what? They did and it doesn't matter if it sounds the same or not because, the end result is the same and it gets there faster.
      • But it is real life

        Probably no one would ask those specific questions, but that wasn't the point. The Moto video shows the phones responding to specific commands that make sense in the context of the phone, e.g. "Text so-and-so," "Navigate to the White House." "Dial 555-1212" and so on. We've seen Apple ads in which people ask some fairly vague natural language questions like "Is it going to snow today?" or "Where am I" and they get back reasonable answers. The Moto ad shows nothing like that. Heck, the old original Moto RAZR feature phone would respond appropriately to "Call Mazzoli's Pizza".

        My understanding is that what makes Siri seem "smart" is a healthy dose of Wolfram Alpha, which took years and millions of dollars to develop. It can answer things like, ""What is the fifty-second smallest country by GDP per capita?" I will throw on the pile anybody who tells me that (a) Wolfram Alpha responds faster to queries from Android phones than from iPhones, or (b) Google duplicated all the work that went into Wolfram Alphas in 90 days, plus made theirs faster.
        Robert Hahn
      • Biggest differentiator for me

        When I ask Siri anything involving location, direction or what's around, I frequently get an incorrect or partial answer.
        I do the same on Android and get a more accurate complete answer more often.

        If a voice service give me frequent innacuracies, why would I want to use it?
        This is why I dumped Siri and only use Android voice for specific tasks.
  • Natural language is the key

    the advantage of Siri is that you don't need a manual to understand how to use it and you don't need to train the app. It can understand the context of what you are saying/asking and it can understand different dialects of english and other languages. Can it is still considered a beta product and most likely will be for years to come but it is far better than other speech technologies I have used in the past including the iPhone built in Voice to Text recognition that has been around for knw..t.he one where you hold the home button down for a few seconds.
  • Android has a couple of big advantages.....

    Devs can develop and leverage / use / enhance the functionality on Android.
    Best of luck on iOS - unfortunately for iPhone users.

    You can use Android voice on any Android phone or tablet or device (pretty much).
    You can only use Siri on the iPhone 4S (unless you jailbreak).