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Video: Siri vs. New Google Voice Search

At the Google I/O keynote from day 1 (watch it here at the 20:00 minute mark), the Android team took the wraps off a new product called Google Now that was powered by a new version of Voice Search (our hands-on). During the demo of it, we were all impressed by the beautiful new UI, answer cards with relevant info, and accuracy. To call this a giant step forward in voice searching, might even be an understatement.

Naturally, people were quick to compare this to Apple’s Siri since it gets all of the play these days in the voice search category. We argued that Siri isn’t even on the same level since Google Now actually predicts your life rather than forcing you to ask things of it all of the time, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in a good battle between the two. So speaking of battles, who wants to see one? 

Our friends at TechnoBuffalo happen to have both an iPhone and Galaxy Nexus, giving them the opportunity to put Siri and the new Voice Search to the test. I don’t mean to spoil anything, but as an Android fan, you will walk away from this with your head held high.


Via:  TechnoBuffalo

Cheers Nick!

  • panicswhenubered

    That’s pretty awesome, I will probably continue not using any voice assistant though…. that is unless, of course, it’s to show all my iphone friends how much their phones suck. 4tehlulz :/

  • jason

    While in Google Now, you can say Google, or Elgoog.

  • Skittleoid

    I bow in respect to your accomplishments google. Bravo.

  • JulianZHuang

    Android: iOSheep SUCK!!

    me: got the gn and going to buy the new phone. win-win!

  • Let me get this straight, Apple is spending almost 100 million dollars to ban a phone that is almost 8 months old and will soon be replaced only because of a few non innovative patents that Apple shouldn’t have had in the first place. Could that money have been better spent improving their own product instead?

  • Prime7

    Navigation now uses the new voice, too. It sounds a lot more organic than the ICS voice.

  • Anon984

    Google Search definitely came out ahead but I do like the way the iphone displayed that information in most cases in the video. I’ll still stick with my Galaxy Nexus and hope I get Jelly Bean soon.

  • U Mad Bro? No But Your Mom Is

    This almost makes me want trade my 4S back for my old G-Nex…BUT battery life is basically why I probably won’t.

  • bogy25

    F apple

  • cody

    Is it just me or when you open Google now and say “Google” it doesn’t work. anyway to fix it?

    • trolololo

      no it works, but I think that defeats the purpose of hands free, in a situation like driving a car. Open Google Now, then use voice commands

      • cody

        But in my search bar it only says search and doesn’t say “or say Google”. Any fix?

  • This has nothing to do with this article but is anyone else pumped for the new Google music widget? I mean its not at that great but its a big improvement on the last one.

  • yellowcanary73

    Isn’t google phone using 4g and iphone using 3g.

    • itsgonnalast

      That’s a good question for AT&T. I’d like to hear their answer.

    • ultravisitor

      They’re both on wifi.

    • JonathanG

      Nope for this test the are both on Wi-fi

    • rtjyu

      They’re both on Wi-Fi, look at the status bars

  • itsgonnalast

    Most people I talk to (both Android and iPhone users) don’t seem to realize that Google has been learning speech patterns for *years*.

    Google Voice prompts me to donate my voicemail so Google can learn
    speech, not to mention the voice app in Android since ~2010, voice
    search in Chrome, Google Translate, etc.

    It’s a shame that Siri got so much attention simply because Apple programmed it to tell jokes.

  • kniceguy

    Rooted my phone for the first time. Jelly Bean was finally worth it (yes I had an unrooted Nexus, I know, I know, the shame). Anyway, JB is fantastic, and way more than I was expecting; watching Google I/O Keynote was one of the best films I have seen this year.

    • Larizard

      Hello. My name is Larry, and I just rooted my GNex yesterday.

      Let’s start a Nonrooted Anonymous right now.

      • kniceguy

        Hi, my name is Ricky. I first found out about the Galaxy Nexus from DL; I was a daily DL website user and I often commented and would refresh the page for more news. I first got my Gnex in September, waiting in line out front. At this point I started my cycle of a non-rooted Nexus…

  • Cbajd5

    Did anyone else tell voice search to do a barrel roll yet? It does.

    • Larizard

      OH MAN. If they do put some easter egg jokes on it, you know Google will have the whole nerd/geek world upside down.

    • kniceguy

      hahaha YES! Oh man I enjoyed that way too much. Thank you.

  • abc

    about to buy a nexus.

  • SolipsisticPsychologist

    Yo, Siri be geetins all of da “play” deese days sun?! Strait upz that be angry phresh daughta, ungggh! Yo buttz I gotz two beez checkin dat Googley Nowwz, causeuh it be sounden lik itz gowinz to have all da “play” nowuhhz! Ungggh!

  • Aaa

    Semi-related (thinking of Nexus tablet), how useful are tablets really, especially Wifi ones? The only times I can think it would be useful to have a tablet: waiting in line on Black Friday and on an airplane. MAYBE couple w/ Project Glass (XBOX360). MAYBE toilet time, if that’s your thing. Anything else? Thanks.

    • ericsf8

      When I had the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 I never used it. I returned it. I also had the Kindle Fire, never used it, returned it. I now have a Asus transformer prime (running CM9) with the keyboard dock. And I use it ALL the time as a light laptop / netbook around the house. I don’t do it often but if i need internet connection on my prime and I’m out of the house I’d just wireless tether it to my galaxy nexus on 4g.

      • Aaa

        That’s what I was thinking, thanks. I would need something with a keyboard dock to get any sort of meaningful use out of it, because typing on a touch screen is just too clumsy/slow.

        • Aaa

          Although [typing on a touch screen] may be better with Project Butter.

          • ericsf8

            haha, it’s still a touch screen. I haven’t tried typing with Project Butter on a tablet but on the G Nex it’s nice there isn’t any lag between key presses. BUT it’s still slow compared to a keyboard. And IMO virtual typing works on a phone due to form factor, tablets even with split keyboard as a pain in the butt.

  • Aaa

    Unfortunately this reinforces all those beliefs of people who said “Oh I’m sure if Google came up with Siri you would’ve thought it was the greatest thing ever.”

    • Not for me. Nice to see Google besting Apple, but I can’t see myself using Google’s offering any more than I would use Siri if I had an iPhone.

      • The problem is people can’t accept android as a better than iosif it doesn’t have all the features that iphone does. Even though it does 100 more things than iphone, missing ONE thing makes android “inferior” to those users because it can’t do that one thing.
        This is just a “FINE! We’ll do that TOO and do it better” to those users who cant compare things don’t have exactly the same features.
        So i agree, why NOT have it? Anything apple does Google does better so its funnier to see Apple beat at their own game. I think its more impressive that a new product beats one that has been on the market for how long? 6+ months?

  • Mike

    Notice he always had to start siri at least half a second before google now….

  • Mark

    The one problem with google voice search: the placement of the button on the top right corner! There’s no way to reach that with one hand. Seriously.

    • ericsf8

      If you say “google” it will prompt the voice response. So you don’t need your hands to tap the button on the top.

      • sirmeili

        that only works if you’re in google now. I do kinda miss the search button on the menu bar (That you could long press for voice actions). Holding it primarily in my left hand it’s a bit difficult.

        I know, I know. I can just swipe up then say “google” and do my search, so no big deal. I just miss my search button. LOL

  • Kind of exciting to be on Android right now. Where for a long while Android (in some ways) was trying to catch up to iOS, now Android truly has surpassed it and coming up with features unlike anything done before it. People will compare the new search to Siri, but with Now added on top, the Siri isn’t even close. I imagine after a year of use, Now will know you better than you know yourself! I wonder if it will be able to tell when I’m getting low on a prescription and auto order me a refill. 😀 Super excited for Jelly Bean.

  • mikesuds

    so… has anybody else gotten Google Now to actually speak back the info? Mine doesnt on the JB rom on my Nexus. can’t figure it out…

    • RadicalPie

      Yes mine does all the time. Ask it the weather

      • mikesuds

        Wow, I just got it to work. My media volume was all the way down. Nice!

        • Sven Enterlein

          Those easily remedied fails are the best, aren’t they? Like finding out the TV doesn’t turn on because someone unplugged it 😀

  • Destroythanet

    Since no phones one else will be getting Jellybean anytime soon, this is like an almost like an exclusive feature for the Galaxy Nexus.

    • not if your nexus is on verizon lol

      • ericsf8

        Well, it’s time to unlocked and root your phone. It took the folks over at xda and rootzwiki, less than 24 hours to port this over from the GSM GN nandroid it came from to work on the Verizon GN. They’ll get it working on other unlocked and rooted phones when they get the source in July.

        • I’ve been holding out and holding out. But this – this has convinced me to finally unlock and root. No clue when Verizon will release this, and I really don’t want to wait. Good bye 6 months of info on my phone.

          • ericsf8

            Ouch… well better 6 months data lost than 6 months from now, you’re thinking damnit, I should have done this 6 months ago… also, not all is lost, pictures can be backed up and data from apps can be restored if you choose the restore my account button when you reactivate your device. After that, make titanium backup your best friend so nothing is lost in the future.

      • Destroythanet

        LOL go to XDA and learn how to use an Android phone.

  • all this taken from the apple hipsters point of view- “but can you talk to your droid like have a conversation?”

    notice, they call it a droid

  • Champion1229

    My HTC Rezound will probably never even see this at the rate updates are going!

  • edmicman

    Can I use the new Voice whatever to send a text message completely hands-free? As it is now I can dictate into the text message box but I still have to confirm by hitting a button and then hit a button again to send. Not to mention having to hit the icon in the first place to bring up the SMS screen.

    I’ve never been able to get the Voice Actions to work, either. It just reads a hodgepodge of what I said into a blank text message box but never picks up the name of who to send it to.

  • Alan Burnstine

    My question (and I can’t watch the video at work, so it might be answered there already) is will it let me control my music? Preferably not just “play album/playlist, etc” but also “next song, previous song, things like that which I could do way back in Windows Mobile 5 with Voice Command. It is my biggest frustration with all of the 3rd party Android voice controls, let alone voice search.

    • sirmeili

      Wtih ICS (and I’m sure JB), the music controls are on the home screen (at least for Play Music), so my question is if you can turn on the phone to press a button to speak, why not just turn on the phone and press next track from the lock screen? (this option may not be available if you any kind of security on the phone. I don’t)

  • zulu208

    Google Now needs to have: Navigate Home. If you have Home programmed in the Navigation app, it should link these two. Right now, “Navigate Home” brings up mapquest web search. Even more, it would be more ass if you say: Navigate to “contact_name” and if you have the address of that contact, it automatically up directions to “contact_name’s” house via Navigation and NOT MAPs

    • New_Guy

      I’m actually surprised it doesn’t do this by now. The only reason I can think that they haven’t done it yet is possibly for patent reasons. Maybe TomTom or Garmin has the patent to this or something. Not sure, but great idea.

    • Guest

      I’d like it if it were capable of navigating via Latitude as well. I have a number of friends and family members on Latitude.

  • sillyrabbittricks4kids

    Gnex always wins. Best phone ever!!!

  • Nothing can match Google’s search…. It is a hell search engine, No matter what is the form…..

  • chudilo

    How long until someone tapes a GNex with Jelly Bean talking to SIRI and triggering some stupid responses ending with something along the lines of “Bitch Puhleeze”

  • PyroHoltz

    But how does Google Now do with a Scottish accent?


    • SolipsisticPsychologist

      I’m more interested in how Siri and Google Now handles ebonics, hahahaha!? “Yo Siri, what beez crackalackin b!tch? Yo ho, teelz meez where da nurrest sto be at, b!tch?” Siri – “I am sorry, I do not comprehend that language, please try again with something intelligible.”.

  • this video is absolutely brilliant.

  • New_Guy

    I love how when he asked it to look up pictures of dogs, Siri brought up Google.


  • RoadsterHD1

    NICE I knew Google would win!!!!

  • ericsf8

    I have google now on my nexus, but I would have to say that when I first saw it at the presentation I thought it was going to be more like siri. However, I find that it is really different from siri. 1. you don’t banter with google now. If you ask google now “stupid” questions, it’ll just google search it instead of so called “cute” responses filled by siri. I find that google now is all about functionality and efficiency. I actually find myself more inclined to use google now than i do with siri as it’s more functional. I think Jobs would prefer google now as it learns from you and suggests things to make your life easier with out you having to think and ask it first.

    • ericsf8

      One thing that is unfair toward Siri is that the reviewer didn’t ask Google Now and Siri more abstract questions. If you tell Google now, “tell me a joke” it won’t tell you a joke, it’ll search it for you. If you tell google now “my name is bob”, it’ll search it, it won’t start calling you bob. Although google now sounds more human than siri, siri’s responses are a bit more human.

      • Allen Byrd

        Which are all tiny, trivial gimmicks that are in no way useful in real life.

        • exactly. which just reinforces the idea that Siri is just a gimmick.

      • TheWenger

        If somebody really needs to have their phone tell jokes to them so they can show off how hip they are, then I guess that’s their decision. There’s no question Google Now destroys Siri in every relevant way.

        • ericsf8

          I agree and I think Google Now is much better. But… just wanted to point out the AI functionality of Siri. From what I can tell so far with G Now, Siri works better than G Now when it comes to texting, calendar appointments, and reminders. Also, those commercials with Zooey Deschanel, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Malkovich where a pretty big hit from a marketing standpoint, seems like there are many lonely iphone users.

      • Well, I guess some people like to talk with their phones. Maybe they lonely.

      • Droosh

        There is something to this. If you phrase a question a bit wrong, Siri is more likely to give you a direct answer. Give Google a couple years and we’ll be impressed. Natural language is the future IMO. BTW, you can tell Google has built in many abstract questions directly to compete with Siri. For example: “Will I need an umbrella tomorrow?”

        • ericsf8

          It’ll be sooner than a couple of years. Google with the power of the developer community will add lots of abstract questions / answers and cards to Now’s vocabulary. I just hope it doesn’t get diluted like Siri has, as Siri misunderstands a lot of things now after Apple has “grown” its database (like how itunes is a gigantic P.O.S. now)

  • ddevito

    just ever evolving further proof that iOS and the iPhone don’t have many (if any) significant advantages over Android anymore.

  • Prime7

    I love the new voice search. “Navigate me to (address)” pulls up Navigation for the address, which is amazingly useful and something Siri can’t do.

    • Eric

      “Navigate to:” has been a part of voice search since the OG Droid.

      • Suralin

        “Navigate To” is the one voice search feature I use regularly. Its easier to speak the address than typing it out…especially when you’re in the middle of the road.

      • Droosh

        True, however, yesterday I said: ” Google – navigate to Dr. xxx orthodontist in (city name).” It not only found where and who from the web, it started navigating directly and fast. GPS lock was also faster. With ICS voice commands it always seemed to have a problem. I usually resported to finding a map of a location and then clicking navigate.

    • boardjnky4

      This functionality has always existed

      • Prime7

        Sorry. To clarify, I mean the new card that comes up is extremely useful. I’ve been using the feature for a while.

  • John Jenness

    Damn…give me some Jelly Bean

  • Jeff Tycz

    To be fair its hard to tell who wins when setting the timer, you can clearly see the progress bar going on the galaxy nexus but at the same time you dont know what the iphone is doing in the background

  • enigmaco

    Siri got beat like a red headed step child

  • Liderc

    lol Siri is just so cumbersome, it’s like SHUT UP BITCH. Where as Google Now just does it with no frills.

    • WCDave

      The no frills applies to the UI too – nice and simple but brings up pictures and cards where need be. I couldn’t believe it when the reviewer said that Siri looks better…!

  • swavek

    I’m an android fan and own a galaxy nexus, but in this example i wouldn’t say that siri got spanked. sure, it was a little slower but it did everything just as well as google. it did fail on the picture request, but it did do better with the alarm/reminder. as for the voice itself, who cares!?… so long as it is loud and clear. although, it would be nice if there were a variety of voice that one could select.

    • Hunter

      I care, Siri sounds annoying

  • Faster, quieter, better…

    …which is how the majority of people want their information, fast, quiet, correct. We talk to our phone because it is faster than typing not because we want to talk to a non self aware Siri (who really is apple engineer who thinks his answers are witty)

    The back and forth with Siri is just ridiculous and why iSheep don’t even use/like Siri all that much!

    • NicholasMicallef

      While I haven’t got much interest for “voice services” in general, if I were to use one, I’d rather have one which is quick and efficient, no need for a long discussion with my phone, otherwise I might as well do the task myself. I mean if I want the weather, I don’t need a lecture about it… actually I don’t need anything I have something called a widget xD.

  • TannerSD398

    Just watching this video, it really makes me want to get a Nexus now. I’m impressed!

  • That voice is insane!
    I’ve always HATED Siris voice. Even on OG Droid there was better synthesized voice.

    • Royal2000H

      Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration. On OG Droid, I was scared for my life every time my phone spoke.

      • not saying that it was good or anything just imo still better than Siri.

      • TheUI

        Remember the first time it said “Drooooiiiid,” and you shot it with a shotgun and had to then take it in embarrassingly for a replacement?

        Oh…just me?

  • Elliot Gardner

    I’ve been using this on my nexus with JB… love it. To be fair, there’s probably a lot more people using Siri than Google Now at this point. I’m not sure technically how Google Now works, but that could account for the time difference. Either way an awesome addition to Android!

    • EvanTheGamer

      Wait…what? Google Now is still extremely new, of course there are more people using Siri.

      • Elliot Gardner

        Did you read my comment? ”
        there’s probably a lot more people using Siri”. Right and at least for Siri it’s processed on Apple servers… if Google Now works the same way it would be much faster at this point.

        • EvanTheGamer

          Uhh…yes, I read your comment. Google Now is still VERY MUCH new as it was JUST announced a few days ago, and Siri has been out for months, so OF COURSE MORE people have been using Siri….did you read MY comment?

  • ddevito
    • droidman101

      Thats google search (not the voice search) vs. siri.

      • ddevito

        yes, I know 🙂

        • Gizmodo doesnt seem to. They’re using a JB screenshot in the picture header.

      • Voice search is still powered by google search, while Siri is powered by Wolfram Alpha. So this is really all about Google Search vs Wolfram Alpha. Siri itself is nothing more than a synthesized voice + catchy name + heavy Apple marketing.

  • Mark

    Of course it’s faster than Siri cause the appearance and information isn’t as detailed as Siri! Why is this impressive? And it’s not like Siri lagged for a long, significant time so not really worth making a big deal about it.

    Only part where I felt Google’s search had the upper hand was when it searched for bulldog images instantly instead of having to take that one extra step from Siri.

    • droidman101

      Google also shows the actually web searches beneath the card though (you can scroll down or just swipe the card away).

    • Greyhame

      As Jobs would say.. it’s all in the details. And IMO, Google Voice Search is clearly the more functional, MUCH better sounding, faster service than Siri.

  • EvanTheGamer

    Out with the old and in with the new….is what I say about that!

  • One thing I have failed to hear bloggers/news sites mention is the fact that you don’t have to push a button to launch the Google Now. You just say ‘Google’. The feature is similar to that on S Voice.

    • Greyhame

      Is that from any screen / app? Or just while Google Now is already up?

      • Unfortunately it has to be up and running. But that works great in the car.

        • Greyhame

          That’s fine with me as the gesture is perfect and available from anywhere. And I’m sure this leads to less battery consumption. Thanks!

  • Greyhame

    Wow.. look at allllllll that BUTTER. =]

  • Heck yes Android!

  • Jamarcus White

    I’m really impressed with Jellybean on my Nexus. At this point I do see why anyone would consider a Galaxy S III. +1 for Google for an awesome update

    • c4v3man

      JB’s already running on the S3. Not everything’s working, but it’ll get done. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t consider the S3 as it’s better in practically every way, and easily unlocked for flashing, with full source available for most models.

      EDIT: I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t consider the S3 if they’re looking for a new phone. I do not believe the S3 is enough of an update if you already have a Galaxy Nexus, if that’s what you are suggesting.

  • Michael_NM

    As an Android fan, I always have my head held high. 😛

  • I never thought I’d use Cards/Google Now much even after upgrading my Nexus to JB, but it’s actually pretty fun and easy to use

  • ApplesNAndroids

    Can’t wait to try it. However, unlike sir I I hear you aren’t able to hold conversation with Google now. I.e. “what’s the weather like in NY? How about PA? While Google now will open up a web search for “how about PA”

    • Sven Enterlein

      I wouldn’t mind putting it into two questions 😉

    • Greyhame

      And I, for one, am happy about that.

    • zorak19620

      Why would you want to hold a conversation with your phone?

    • That’s correct, it’ll answer sometimes with just a web search which I don’t mind. The biggest bugger is that the voice recognition is now terrible if you have poor service, before the voice search would work just fine when offline. Other than that the service is outstanding, but I don’t see myself talking to my phone still other than for the novelty of it.

      • ApplesNAndroids

        Thanks for the reply. I was only stating what I heard. Didn’t think.I’d be hung for it as people seem to be offended. I just thought it was neat sirI always left things open ended. I will flash JB tonight.

  • So is Majel still coming out or is this it just new name?

    • If you have ever watch Star Trek that sounds like Majel in computer from, so I guess rename

      • I haven’t watch it that much.
        You could guess that they just implemented the voice from Majel. I’d imagine that’s probably the easiest part of it. But seeing how much this can do, how much more room can there be?

      • Droosh

        Except, she answers to “Google” and not “Computer.”

        • FIX IT GOOGLE!

        • Claire

          It would be cool if you could change the word that she answers to. Give her your preferred name rather than having to say Google.

  • Bauce40

    Anyone else notice that when he went back to the home screen from the settings menu that, dare i say it, the Nexus actually looked smoother than the iphone? Jelly bean is awesome, running it on my nexus thanks to the roms and it’s amazing.

    • NicholasMicallef

      Yep, smooth as (project) butter… I like how Google really knows their product has its flaws and works on ironing them out.

    • Ketan Parmar

      I too noticed it and saw it five times by rewinding 😀

  • It really does sound like the Star Trek computer Majel played

  • I saw this done by the verge the other day, man is it so much fast then siri and is more to the point.

  • Samvelavich

    siri got spanked

    • I’m sure she liked it!

      • Samvelavich

        it was a well deserved one