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I asked it to “set a timer for 5 minutes”. Google’s app returned a page of search results. Notice that one of the results is a forum post about Siri setting a timer for 10 minutes when the user asks for 5.
All of this voice recognition and artificial intelligence software has a long way to go. Fanboys will marshal evidence for the side they signed a two-year contract with. That’s why I think this Android vs. iOS fanboy war is so heated. This is not like Coke vs. Pepsi. When people commit to a platform for a few years, they tend to vociferously defend their consumer choice, even resorting to intellectually fraudulent flame wars.
Google Search is a remarkable app, but it was never intended to be like Siri. It is, however, much more intelligent than it used to be.
Google Search is Intelligent
The improved Google Search app will provide a spoken response to many requests. This comes in handy if you are unable to type, lazy, don’t want to type a long search query, or disabled. It’s actually quite impressive as to what it can do:
I asked Google Search what the weather is like today. It spoke out the current conditions and immediate forecast, as well as displaying weather information. I don’t live in South San Francisco, however.
I mentioned this with the iMaps fiasco — no set of mapping data is perfect. Google’s app was unable to detect the correct city I was in, but it was close enough for accurate weather information. I’m not a fanboy, so I won’t lord this mistake over them. I know, all too well, maps and voice recognition are nascent technologies. They’re flawed, buggy, and bleeding-edge.
“How do I tie a neck-tie?” was my next query. (I know how to do this, by the way, even though us Silicon Valley techies are slobs.) It produced a YouTube video that demonstrated this task. Google’s ownership of the best web entities gives them an edge in many ways.
Google Search can retrieve stock quote information if you ask for a particular quote. It does not, however, interpret a question such as “how’s the stock market doing today?” as one might expect. I get a page of search results. One needs to be specific with the app. It is intelligent to some degree, but limited in its ability to interpret commands. Since it cannot ask follow-up questions, you will get results, but maybe not what you expect. The user must be specific. If you want to know how the market is doing, ask about the DOW, S&P or NASDAQ. (continue…)