The competition between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) encompasses a huge number of features in Android and iOS, but one that many consumers use everyday is each operating system’s voice assistant. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster compared Apple’s Siri and Google Now. He tested each with 800 queries and tracked their ability to recognize and answer speech requests. Munster tested each assistant in both a controlled environment and an uncontrolled environment, and measured the improvements that both Apple and Google have made in enabling Siri and Google Now to correctly interpret and answer questions.
In a similar test last December, the voice assistants came in tied with a grade of C+. The winner this time? Google Now, which was able to interpret and answer questions slightly more accurately than Siri, and earned a B to Siri’s B-. Google Now was able to answer questions correctly 84 percent of the time, while Siri was able to answer them correctly 82 percent of the time.
One of Munster’s measures of Google Now’s improvement was its progress in the rate of its ability to correctly answer questions that it’s correctly heard. In December 2012, Google Now was only able to correctly answer questions correctly heard 72 percent of the time. In December 2013, that rate had climbed to 81 percent, and it’s since risen to 86 percent. Its overall ability to answer questions rose from 79 percent in December 2013 to 84 percent in July 2014, compared to Siri’s improvement from 79 percent to 82 percent over the same period. Munster’s grades — B for Google Now and B- for Siri — seems largely predicated on those figures.