- N. Korea wipes Kim Jong-un uncle from Web
- Man arrested in car bomb plot at Kansas airport
- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
Review: Despite flaws, voice search has potential
As for movies, both will give you movie showtimes and let you buy tickets, though for tickets iPhone users will need a free software update to iOS 6.1, which came out in late January. In addition, Siri can only buy tickets through Fandango, not MovieTickets or other rivals.
Both correctly give me latest sports scores, though I stumped Google Now when I asked how a particular team was doing. Google Now simply gives me the latest score, while Siri tells me where the team is in the standings. When I asked about the Detroit Lions a few months ago, she preceded the response with “Uh, oh.” I chuckled at the phone when I heard that. The Lions finished the 2012 NFL regular season in last place in the NFC North division.
Siri is better at integrating with the phone’s calendar and alarm clock. When I ask for an alarm for “tomorrow night at 7,” Siri tells me she can’t set anything more than a day ahead, while Google Now simply sets one. Imagine the embarrassment should my alarm clock go off while out with friends at a show.
I asked Siri whether I’m free on Monday. In a recent reply, she said my calendar is clear, while Google Now gave me a website discussing “murder-free Monday.” Google Now is smarter, though, in creating a calendar reminder for movie plans with Tony, as Siri stumbles trying to find a movie called “plans with Tony.” She does successfully create one for dinner with Tony, after warning of a conflict on my schedule.
Siri is better with answering such questions as who won the Oscars for best picture in 1996 and who won the Nobel Peace Prize. As usual, Google Now returns standard Web results.
Both directly answered me when I asked when Memorial Day is. Siri added, “I hope you get the day off.” Thanks for looking out for me, Siri.
What I also like about Siri is that she’s always a click away _ just tap on the home button on the iPhone. Google Now is like a disappearing act: Sometimes you see its search box and the microphone button; sometimes you don’t.
By now, you might be wondering, why bother with Google Now?
Although Siri performs better in many situations, Google Now isn’t bad if you have an Android device. Apple has had more time to refine its service, as Siri has been around for more than a year _ and longer as a startup before Apple bought it. Google Now made its debut over the summer in phones running the Jelly Bean version of Android, and it continually gets new capabilities.
In addition, Google Now does more than voice search. Over time, it’s supposed to know about your interests and give you information without asking. If you have the necessary permissions turned on, you can search for a sports team on a desktop computer and find the latest score waiting for you on the phone after the game. Walk by a movie theater and see showtimes automatically pop up. Commute along a certain route each day, and Google Now will check traffic and offer alternative driving directions when appropriate.
But Google Now isn’t wise enough to figure out that I typically take public transit in New York and don’t even own a car. I had to set that manually. And Google doesn’t have a good way to distinguish a casual search about a company from actual interest in automatically getting its stock price at the end of the day.
What’s clear from my test is that we’re just at the beginning of seeing what voice search and virtual assistants can do.
It’s easy to get caught up on the mistakes these services make interpreting our voices. But Siri and Google Now are enticing enough that I can’t wait to see what they do in the months and years ahead.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Suspected Colo. school gunman kills self amid standoff
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama birther theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Obama and family holiday in Hawaii again
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- James Bond: The spy who is really an alcoholic
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Musings of a bilingual, agnostic, combat veteran and jewelry maker.
Topics will include politics, religion, race, culture, and anything else that needs to be discussed...
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow