Sunday, March 29, 2015

Siri and Cortana in an e-PA bitch fight

By +Brad Naylor

The battle of the electronic personal assistant has turned into a 64-bit bitch fight with Microsoft's Cortana taking on Apple's Siri as well as competing against the so far non-personalized OK Google system.

Siri, Cortana, OK Google
Who is will win the 64-bit bitch fight?
Apple have led the e-PA battle since they launched Siri in 2011, mainly because nobody was seriously contesting the market. Google's OK Google system is a voice search system and was never designated as a personal assistant. Even though OK Google usually returns search results faster than Siri, it lacks the virtual intelligence and sophistication to be a genuine e-PA.

Now Microsoft is aggressively entering the fight with Cortana, their proprietary e-PA which is being built into Windows phones and will be part of the Windows X OS. Microsoft will soon make Cortana available across platforms looking to challenge Siri and OK Google.

With so many fanboys out there, it is difficult to be truly objective about which system is best, so I set up a fool proof system to judge which company makes the best e-PA. I polled a number of senior level executives with a series of questions about what they look for when hiring a Personal Assistant.

Siri vs Cortana vs OK Google
Which Personal Assistant would you choose?
It was clear from the answers that efficiency and accuracy were high on the list of needs, but surprisingly looks were not a major factor for many of those asked. Just for fun we asked which of the females pictured above they would hire, with all other factors being equal. C had the most votes, with A being a close second. E was third, B fourth and D came last.

So who are these people? A is Susan Bennett a.k.a the original Siri. B is Karen Jacobsen the Australian Siri. C is Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana. D is GoogleBot and E is Cortana from Halo.

Factoring these results into the rest of our e-PA quiz then adding the objective 3rd party test data regarding the speed and accuracy of voice searching, the final result is inconclusive, Each system performs well in certain areas and falls behind in others.

While this test was kind of a fun way to waste some time, there is one conclusive fact which is undeniable. Blackberry is years behind in the race for the best e-PA. Their voice search system involves having a real person on the other end of the line doing a Google search and reading the results to you.

A BlackBerry voice search assistant
A BlackBerry voice search assistant
Thankfully the limited number of BlackBerry users means that the company is able to offer a one to one voice search service with no waiting and no busy tones.

Now you can add your voice to the poll. Below is a chance for you to vote for your preferred system. Let the battle of the fanboys begin.

Feel free to expand on your choice or share your feelings in the comments section below.

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