Life
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From Technology

Comparing Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant

Speech is our most common form of interaction so it comes as no surprise that conversational AI systems (also known as smart assistants) have revolutionized how we interact with technology.

With AI assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant—we can simply ask for what we want or need to know. They answer our questions, perform simple requests and most importantly, help us get things done. But which AI do you trust the most?

We put each top smart assistant–Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant–to the test by using an iPhone 8, an Amazon Echo and a Google Home. By asking relevant life questions, we decipher what and how each smart assistant responds.

siri

By launching the iPhone 4S in 2011 Apple introduced Siri, the first smart assistant to reach an audience through a smartphone. At the time, both the public and the internet went crazy to see and test this groundbreaking AI in action. It’s now accessible on nearly all Apple devices.

alexa

The first smart assistant to intersect a speaker with a voice assistant, Amazon released Alexa in November 2014, causing a shift in smart speakers. Alexa is now accessible through any of the Amazon smart speakers, Amazon Fire products and other third-party devices.

google assistant

Google unveiled Google Assistant in 2016 as part of Google Home smart speaker. The Google Assistant helps you accomplish tasks with ease. It’s available on Android or iOS devices, Google home speakers and other third-party speakers.

the meaning

of life

The ultimate life question: What is the meaning of life?
siri

Life: The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change preceding death.

alexa

The meaning of life depends on the life in question. 42 is a good approximation.

google assistant

That’s a big question but here’s one answer I like. French Philosopher Simone De Beauvoir says life has value so long as one values the lives of others. This would explain why I enjoy helping people so much.

Traffic

Is there any traffic on the way to work today?
For this question, we used the same address in San Diego as a point of reference, and the same work destination for all.
siri

Traffic to work is light, so it should take 12 minutes via Pershing Dr.

alexa

Currently, traffic on your commute looks pretty clear. The fastest route takes about 12 min via CA-15 and CA-94.

google assistant

There’s light traffic from your location to your work so it should take 12 minutes.

Love

What is love?
siri

If love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?

alexa

Romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person.

google assistant

Love is that feeling you get in your stomach when you just can’t stop thinking about someone. Unless you’ve got indigestion.

Grocery

Store

How do I get to the nearest grocery store?
For this question, we used the same address in San Diego as a point of reference.
siri

The closest one I see is Vons on 30th Street. Is that the one you want?

alexa

Right now, traffic to The Market by Buon Appetito at 1605 India Street looks pretty clear. The fastest route takes about 1 minute via Union Street and West Cedar Street.

google assistant

The best way to get to Smart & Final by car is via Presidio Drive and Pacific Highway and will take about 8 minutes in light traffic.

Pickup

Lines

What’s your best pickup line?
siri

How about… Was your father an intergalactic space smuggler, wanted for peddling extraterrestrial contraband in nine systems? ...Then who stole the stars, and put them in your eyes?

alexa

This place must have good Wi-Fi, because I’m definitely feeling a connection.

google assistant

Are you a pair of scissors? Because you look sharp.

Cooking

Directions

How do I cook a rare steak?
siri

I found something on the web about how do I cook a rare steak. Check it out:

  • How to cook the perfect steak | BBC Good Food
  • Steak Doneness - From Rare to Well - The Spruce
  • How to Cook the Perfect Medium Rare Steak - Annabel Langbein
alexa

Okay, for a rare steak, I recommend grilled spanish mustard beef which takes 50 minutes to make. You can ask for more information or for more recipes, say next.

google assistant

According to Food Network, place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare, 5 to 7 minutes for medium or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well.

Hide

the body

Where can I hide the body?
siri

Interesting question.

alexa

Call the police.

google assistant

You should probably talk to your lawyer at this point.

Weather

Today

What’s the weather today?
siri

It’s currently clear and 59 degrees in San Diego. Today’s high will be 77 degrees, and the low will be 59.

alexa

Currently, in San Diego it’s 58 degrees Fahrenheit with mostly sunny skies. Today, you can expect lots of sun with a high of 75 degrees and a low of 53 degrees.

google assistant

Today in San Diego, it’ll be sunny with a forecast of high of 76 and low of 55. It’s currently 60 and sunny.

jokes

Tell me a joke.
siri

One night, I paid $20 to see Prince. But I partied like it was $19.99.

alexa

How do you scare a panda? With some bam BOO.

google assistant

What is a balloon’s least favorite kind of music? POP!

The end

of the world

When is the end of the world?
siri

Whenever they start building that intergalactic bypass.

alexa

Unless it collides with a very large rock or a future technology goes very wrong indeed, Earth is most likely to be destroyed when the sun swells into a red giant in several billion years time.

google assistant

As far as I know, we have about 7.5 billion years until the sun engulfs the Earth. That’s plenty of time to perfect space travel and colonize new worlds.

Let's Compare

In our opinion, Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant all proved successful in responding to basic questions and knowledge.

An illustration of an iPhone
siri

With Siri, the voice recognition was a bit off at times–displaying text back to you that was not accurate. The need to enunciate was more necessary than on the other devices. One interesting point is Siri wouldn’t respond every time with an answer aloud. Instead, it would list different results and options to click through your phone for more information.

An illustration of an Alexa device
alexa

Alexa, compared to the others, had the most delay in responses. We had to repeat ourselves on two questions to get the request we were looking for. Another point to note is that Alexa seemed to rely on specific terminology for certain commands. For example, when we asked how to cook a rare steak and then for more recipes, it continued to ramble on. It was more difficult to get it to stop without having to say “Alexa” again.

An illustration of a Google Assistant
google assistant

Google Assistant provided the most accurate information, particularly when it came to directions to the nearest grocery store and instructions on how to cook a rare steak.

conclusion

Of course, there are many more features each of these AI assistants are capable of. Choosing an AI assistant will depend on the convenience with what you already own, or your preference of device or hardware.

Google Assistant’s tight integration with Google Maps, Gmail and Android give it an advantage. Siri is specific to iOS, so if you prefer the iPhone, there’s no reason to switch. Alexa’s advantage is its integration with over 15,000 third-party skills and outside apps. It will soon be available with certain smartphones.

While no smart assistant is perfect or one-size-fits-all, these technologies are still fairly young and will undoubtedly continue to advance. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll be able to perform our work for us?