Unit conversions provide in-line converter widgets... it'll gleefully show you pictures of anything safe-search while playing dumb if you search for something "naughty"... web links you select pile up in little tabs that let you slide right back to the original query... it looks good... it makes pleasing sounds that let you know what's happening...
If Siri can stage a question to Wolfram Alpha, the result is great. But if she can't, she just lamely offers a button to (Search the web for ______?) that then kicks you out to Safari. Google voice search makes Siri feel clunky.
The voice recognition is verging on instantaneous. This is amazing work.
Exactly! Shows you how much it has recognized as you speak. Immediate feedback. More important is the speed of getting back results. Google Now is certainly a little faster in that regard as well.
Reminded me of a 21 questions test with Siri and Google Now (on a Nexus with Android 4.1 I think) side by side as they listened simultaneously. It's interesting to see how both perform in different scenarios. Generally when Google search has the answer Google Now is a little faster. When Google search doesn't have a direct answer Google Now boils down to Google Search results - right there - as opposed to an offer to do a web search. In my experience Siri tends to have an answer more often.
The general theme was:
1. Questions that get answered by Wolfram Alpha were slower on Siri. In one test Wolfram Alpha didn't have an answer and Siri offered a web search where as Google's graph did have an answer.
2. For requests like "Call BestBuy" Siri looked up BestBuy stores and offered you the choice of which one to call where as Google Now said there were no numbers for BestBuy in the phonebook.
3. Sports questions (which I don't quite care about personally, sorry) tend to be answered way better by Siri. I remember a question about which sports personalities was taller and Siri had an direct answer with other stats whereas Google Now was a list of search result links - no ads yet. It was the same thing for another sports trivia question.
4. Siri would sometimes have to wait - almost like a timeout - on a response from Apple. Google Now didn't face such issues.
5. In some case Siri would take a little longer but give back more information - when you talk about restaurants it'll include reviews, price range and distance.
Source: http://youtu.be/z_pclCFpjgw (video)
That's the one thing about it I didn't like. The fact that I could see a mistake made me want to try and correct it (but I don't see any obvious way to say 'that last word is incorrect').
To some degree, that's probably how the human brain works. If you say out loud "Show me pictures of Hump" and then just stop, it really does sound pretty close to "Show me pictures of home"
I am very, very impressed on how much better than Siri the voice recognition is in terms of speed and responsiveness. And, it works just fine on my iPhone 4, where Siri isn't an option.
CRFs are used in places like voice and images where recognition or decoding of a segment logically depends on the pieces near it.
This application gave me one of those "sufficiently advanced technology" moments. Magic.
Just fired it up now, and can attest it simply blows Siri's UX right out of the water.
Kudo's to the Google team!
In a situation where I'm using voice recognition I need it to read the response back to me, without that it's next to useless.
Am I missing something? Or is it the things I'm asking?
Things like "How many meters in a mile", "Did the Tigers win?" and "What is the weather like?" all came up with an audible reply for me.
Which is odd. I see no reason why English UK (or "actual" English as I like to think of it ;-) ) couldn't use English UK for recognition but speak back as if it were English US.
As it is it becomes unworkable set to English US it doesn't recognise stuff at all well with my accent, and English UK doesn't read stuff back which means that it's of massively limited use.
So great if you're in the US, for the rest of us, still a (very impressive) work in progress.
As long as the Google app cannot interface with Contacts, Reminders or Calendar, this is just an interesting tech demo and nowhere near a Siri replacement.
Crashed the first time I tried it.
Well, I just did the test. Google voice search on a 40 month old iPhone 3GS is more responsive and much more precise than Siri on the latest and best 1 month old iPhone 5.
Apple has so much egg on their face.
Some times the failed was result was just weird, but most often it was "what's to plus 2".
What's going on? Still more impressive than Siri.
The noise-correction on the older device microphones aren't as good as the newer ones (ie, anything that's Siri compatible has at least 2 microphones for noise-reduction).
So perhaps Apple does have a legitimate (although self-serving) reason not to deploy Siri on older tech - it may suck if you have lots of ambient noise or distortion.
I asked both Google and Siri, “How much damage did Hurricane Sandy do?”
Google heard it as “How much damage did Hurricane Sandy too?” and returned with official Hurricane Sandy emergency info and latest news stories literally as I stopped talking.
Siri took nearly five seconds to register my question as “How much damage did hurricane you do” and responded with hockey league standings for the Hurricanes team.
And the execution of Google's product is more stylish than Apple's...given Google's lead in collecting voice data, nevermind their lead in search technology and algorithms...how can Apple hope to even compete in voice search except by forcing Siri on iOS users?
*edit: Here's a screenshot comparison:
Google got the translation right first try, and the first result, which returned in less than a second, had "over $20 billion in damage" visible.
Siri took ~8 seconds to return "Ok sports fans, the Hurricanes appear to be in first place in the Southeast right now" followed by AHL team standings.
Apple has a lot of catching up to do here. They're going to have to start translating client-side, which Google has obviously figured out, and they're going to need a data source as rich as Google. It think the first part will get done at some point, but how will they match Google on the data side?
It's important to remember that Apple is a hardware company with a software habit. Google is a software company.
While I understand why Apple hates Google so much, I think breaking with Google is a mistake. Nobody can beat Google at software; Apple hardware + Google software is a wonderful combination, and if the two companies worked together we'd really see the apex of user experience.
Another example: Google released Renderscript in early 2011 (http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2011/02/introducing-r...) only to deprecate it a little over a year later (https://developer.android.com/about/versions/android-4.1.htm...). We can cherry pick examples all day long, but the bottom line is that each company excels at certain things.
It's interesting how Samsung is basically stuck to Google at this point. I'm sure they'd love to switch to their own Bada or Android fork and capture more of the profit, but Samsung is absolutely abysmal at software.
Apple is a software company (who also fuses design and software really well). Google is a computer science company.
But it is worth remembering the various ideas that iOS "borrowed" from Android (or the improvements Android forced iOS to make) - including decent notifications, wireless syncing, multitasking, etc. Google for more.
Apple (and everyone) improves more rapidly with a viable competitor.
Maybe I'm wrong but I'm getting near instant voice recognition off a poor wifi connection linking to a slow internet connection.
Now in the short term style > substance for the simple reason that it is easy to repackage something that is difficult to use into something simple.
Making things easy to use is obvious for designers - but not for engineers - because they focus on actually making complex things work instead of making it easy to use.
However, in the long run substance > style for the simple reason that anything that can be repackaged to make it simple will either become a minority player or a commodity item because style and veneer are easily copyable but substance isn't. Substance is a natural monopoly, and monopolies make lots of money.
What you see here is the fruition of substance over style - big data is a monopoly and Google owns it hard.
Google will be the first trillion dollar corporation. And it will do so by making everything else apart from Artificial Intelligence a commodity.
Disclaimer: I'm looking to buy Google stock and I recently exited an Apple short.
Both the Nexus 4/10 surpass, or are equivalent to, the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 respectively. Apple has no more products to grow into - outside of Aug reality glasses - where they'll just get squeezed again and Google already has the lead.
Apple's strength is not, and never was, in their hardware. It was software - and it is now commodity. Apple is the new Microsoft.
Linux kills everything that cannot differentiate.
Yeah, and Windows differentiated by offering an insane level of backward compatibility which makes both developers happy (they don't have to maintain and patch their apps as much) and users who don't have to lose their favorite piece of software, which is why Linux has never overtaken the desktop. Windows runs the apps people want : MS Office, Photoshop... the mac also runs some of those but you can see how fickle backward compatibility is with Apple. You can install Windows 8 on the early macintels, you can't install Mac OS X Mountain Lion on those. MS offers better support for older Apple hardware than Apple themselves.
Apple is not going to survive android on the long term unless they truly manage to turn the iPhone into a fashion statement and multiply their effort to make it look like jewelry. Apple revenue depends entirely on the iPad and iPhone nowadays, Mac aren't making them any money. Unlike Windows, people don't have any sort of long term, or big in $ investment in mobile software. Transitioning from iOS to Android is not like going from Windows to Linux and losing Office, Photoshop, thousands of dollars worth of a game library built over a decade..
Everything will run in the cloud on the latest tech and whatever software you want will be streamed to you direct. And those servers will run on Linux.
Me: Will it be cold tomorrow?
Siri: Yes, the low temperature will be 42 degrees.
Me: What about Friday?
Siri: Looking better. The low temperature will be 58 degrees.
(exact working paraphrased)
Try this series of questions in the new Google search app. The first gives me a wiki.answers.com page as the top result, the second a Woody Allen quote.
Or try it on any conversation bot. Using pronouns to obscure the topic of conversation has always been the best way to reveal the stupid machine underneath. Siri is a little less stupid.
Google voice search cannot do this because it is fundamentally transactional--you ask one question, get one answer. It is just another interface to their web search, albeit one with seemingly great voice recognition.
Siri is not designed primarily as a search engine. It is designed to be a personal assistant and is optimized to accomplish tasks and answers certain questions in the process of doing so.
Google wants its apps on iOS, as they mostly care about ad revenue (not the few bucks they might make on Nexus, which is just one of many Android brands). Google has always been platform agnostic. Apple wants Google (Android) dead, but simply doesn't have the ability to beat Google at search.
Scott Forstall probably wanted Apple to create a massive data division, so they could go toe to toe with Google on search, and hope that people would still want iOS even if Google was locked out. I'm guessing the other execs were beginning to question this strategy - Google can make a "good enough" mobile OS better than Apple can make a "good enough" search engine and mapping platform. It's far better to let Google own search, and focus on doing what Apple does best.
I think this is the heart of it right now. A "good enough" OS for Google has a bit of scroll jank and some inconsistent UI elements. "Good enough" maps for Apple will get you lost and cause you actual trouble.
Google originally announced this app back in August, and said it'd be in the App Store "shortly"... It's pretty obvious why Apple held this back in the approval process since it definitely competes with Siri's functionality.
It's different than Google Now on Android, as the results are just the Google search results for the query. But when the Google Knowledge Graph provides an actual answer, it puts that up top and reads it out.
Edit: I'd go so far to say this is eerily similar to the issues levied during Microsoft's anti-trust case. Google clearly is unable to compete here for no other reason than artificial walls put up by Apple on their devices in software. This is mobile's IE vs Netscape.
So far as I can tell anyone who doesn't like iOS' walled garden can pick up and leave - to the market leader, Google.
This doesn't at all seem like monopolistic behavior, just rather restrictive and perhaps unwise.
My point was less about the monopolistic nature and more that this is very similar from a product perspective to IE vs Netscape. Microsoft used its internal platform APIs as a massive amount of leverage to force IE down peoples' throats, even though Netscape was technically superior on the core ability of rendering web pages. The seamless integration caused IE to win out and eventually catch up. The stark disadvantage of Google's app is nearly identical in nature to 3rd party browsers in the mid 1990s.
> Netscape was technically superior on the core ability of
> rendering web pages
No shit. Seriously, this isn't just dawning on you now, is it? This is the exact history of PCs victory over the initial Mac leader originally, and it's playing out in a similar way with iOS and Android today. It's exactly why everyone has been pouring billions into mobile development - everyone wants to be the next MS with a monopoly on the OS, because that's the natural outcome when there are such high barriers to conversion.
Apple vs. Google, style vs. big data. While I love Apple's sensibilities, here's more evidence that data will win in the long run.
Apple of course does not allow keyboard replacement either, so we're all stuck with the crappy voice recognition in iDevices (I have several, statement of fact, not fanboy-ism)
No, Apple has made it a job of the OS. There's absolutely nothing fundamental to the problem that makes it a job of the OS.
A possible workaround would be a cumbersome two-way permissions system ("can app X access app Y?" [and, for purposes of apps asking the AI to ask follow-up questions] "can app Y access app X?", ad nauseam), but this is something of an impractical solution, because the AI would need to be granted permission every time the user installs a new app to access that app.
So yes, Apple makes it the job of the OS. This is a design compromise that mitigates the risk that the user is overburdened with confirmation dialogs, choice dialogs, and/or permission dialogs. And for an AI that just works, I would say this is pretty key.
Siri must be system-level because Apple has prevented other apps from being capable of assuming system default roles. It is an effect of iOS's design, not an inherent flaw in mobile OSes.
Security is just an excuse for not wanting to try and enable this.
Not when it comes to giving Google access to my personal data.
Until then, LTE is for those who have to have the latest thing, regardless of price or who actually need the data rates achievable with LTE and have coverage where you're likely to be using it.
Um, no. There's a mountain of difference between HSPA+ and LTE. The former is like having medium-speed cable Internet, and the latter is like having FIOS. This has a direct impact on user experience.
I believe Google must be doing something right on the voice frontier when they can accomplish things like this. They must have some pretty efficient methods for teaching the system new languages.
Note for non-Americans: The app only speaks results back if your selected voice search app is 'English (US)'.
That should work, because I've noticed the app is a little buggy and occasionally gets into a confused state where voice search, voice responses or both stop working. Doing that reset fixes it.
Google, please release your maps app for iOS now!
As of iOS5, you couldn't get this if you enabled Siri. So in order to do mundane stuff, you still had to enable a round-trip to an Apple server.
They should revert this so strictly local, mundane commands don't require an wireless latency.
Since google knows so much about me, can I say:
- what movie should I see?
- book tickets
- mark the route to the cinema
to eventually (with a self-driving car):
- take me out to the movies, google
Even if you're lucky enough to live in the US and be able to use Google Now (the voice search like in this iOS and Siri) you won't have the same features available. If you, God forbid, change your language away from US English into something like horrible UK English the features are disabled and just becomes dictation instead.
I'm sorry about being a little bit annoyed, but I can't understand at all why Google put in place extremely stupid restrictions of features requiring their users to hex-edit their binaries in order to get access to the availible features. It's moronic.
Yes, the voice recognition is very fast, but then again, most questions only work in English, no chance to get anything useful in German or other languages.
That's not really competition to Siri in this department.
In general I've been very pleased with voice search on Google Now -- just reading the blog post I wasn't too amazed by the examples they gave for iOS because it sounds identical to what Google Now provides. I assumed that Google would release these features for android before iOS, but am am surprised by the overwhelmingly positive comments others here have to say here. Can anyone do a comparison and shed some light?
I do have to say that Google Now is sometimes rather slow -- the voice recognition is very fast (type as you talk realtime) but web search can sometimes take 10+ seconds to load even when already connected to wifi. Other times, it just works.
Alternatively, if the 16GB isn't enough, or you must go Verizon your choices are either the HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S3. Read the reviews see which suits you better.
There are a horde of cheaper phones. And yes its confusing the choice in the mid to low end. But if you're switching from an iPhone, those aren't aimed at the same market. You can get one of them, but unless you're still using a 3GS it will be an inferior experience.
I know that Siri works this way as well (which I also find irritating). Why won't it obey my settings!
I use Siri a lot, and its powerful because it actually feels par of the phone. I can actually do useful things with it.
"how far is it to X" doesn't work in Google but works in Siri.
"how did (sports team) do" doesn't work in Google but works in Siri.
"what movies are playing" works but "where is Argo playing" doesn't. And this is just weird because "where is Looper playing" works.
Great app technically though. Hopefully this'll push Apple to make Siri more responsive.
I can the "i" button in that video, but my app does not have it, and I don't get voice answers.
Edit: Switching to English (US) does give vocal answers, but then it doesn't seem to understand my South African accent anymore.
I know that feel bro. That's why I dumped my Samsung Droid Charge and got an iPhone 5.
So frustrated not getting any updates.
I love their image search though. Take a picture of painting, show you a lot of info.
Now apple need to catchup on Siri
"Who made you?", "Tell me a joke?", "Who am I?",
"Will you marry me?"
Never been able to reproduce it though.
With the data that Google has, I can ask it math questions, ask it questions about release dates of movies or video games. And now I can query that data through Google Now (or will be able to as they pipe through from that dataset to exposing it through Google Now).
Funny, even with some of the features just in 4.2, Now became as much or more of an assistant than Siri. I still can't get over it will scan my email for packages and give me notifications about it. That to me is the epitome of why I love what Google does. They are good at data.