• timjones17

    more and more people are abandoning voice, so Siri is pretty much useless

  • http://www.planetc1.com/ Michael Dorausch

    Great write up Greg. I don’t at all doubt your prediction of this becoming a “paradigm shift” in mobile device interaction. Those of use that have used voice dictation for years know that we often speak differently than we type. Add to that the intent of the user on mobile and we’re likely to see an entirely new paradigm of search terms being created. We’ll learn how to communicate with Siri (and others) and as use increases, new patterns will arise, creating an entirely fresh landscape to be optimized for.

  • http://screenwerk.com Greg Sterling

    timjones: what’s the evidence for your statment?

  • John

    Come on Search Engine Land,

    Comparing Apple’s Siri experience to Google’s Voice Action is like comparing Superman to The Green Lantern or Bentleys to Volkswagens. Google’s “bringing a knife to a gun fight” in the battle of software / hardware integration and elegant user experience, pure and simple.

    All of your Google related posts should start with a pro-Google disclaimer as follows:

    “Every one of us at Search Engine Land is a Google Fan Boy / Girl. We owe our entire existence and financial well being to Google; to be fair, ‘Google as been bery bery good to us’. They have also given us an extended 15 minutes of fame, from which we are very, very thankful for that.

    Ergo, we must honor the ‘non-verbal’ agreement with our omnipresent deity and return the favor whenever the opportunity presents itself. Think of it as a journalistic ‘Quid Pro Quo’. Bottom line – WE LOVE GOOGLE – so please take our commentary and opinion with a pinch of salt.

    We don’t actually believe Big G’s competitors or critics, typically, deserve the treatment we give them, it’s just an economic thing for us. We all have very expensive mortgages and maintaining an upwardly mobile quality of life in the Valley is not cheap… trust us on that one.

    So, thank you for visiting Search Engine Land, we hope you come back day after day; it keeps the ad dollars rolling in and insures our continued enjoyment of the Silicon Valley cocktail circuit.

    Long live the King (of indexed search)!”

    This last post is just “the straw that broke my camel’s back”; there are countless, hundreds in fact, examples of SEL’s not-so-subtle bias towards Google, of course, sprinkled with the occasional not-so-complimentary rant against the overlord. But let’s face it, they’re few and far between, and a feeble attempt to showcase evidence of SEL’s “objective” journalistic integrity in the face of any criticism.

    Danny’s Fair Search post, earlier this week http://searchengineland.com/does-the-fairsearch-white-paper-on-google-being-anticompetitive-hold-up-96567?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed-main, is also a blatant example of SEL’s pro-Google rhetorical pablum.

    Your coverage of most things tech are getting the type of “Fair and Balanced” coverage that we have all come to enjoy, and laugh at, from Fox News. I’m starting to tune into Search Engine Land for the same reasons I consume FNC… for a good laugh and to remind me of what a vested interest and delusion looks like. Not sure you should be taking a lot of pride in that. I could be wrong though.

    Hey ho, to each their own.

    Disclosure: I’m not compensated by the success or failure of any Silicon Valley tech business, just a lover of proper UX and elegant industrial design… you know – Apple, Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Frank Lloyd Wright, et al. (I’m guessing I’m not alone)

    Google will NEVER be in the same A-Leagues along with the aforementioned titans of industry. Nor will they ever reach similar echelons of design, utility or elegance – period.

    But then again, what do I know, I’m not part of the Silicon Valley Intelligentsia or write for an “in the loop” tech blog. (thank goodness for that!)

    Think different.

    Over & Out…

    P.S. Wise to take my rant with a pinch of salt too. Make up your own mind.

  • E.J.

    Wow! John really enjoys seeing long strings of overly oppinionated garbage attached to his name.

    I just wanted to say that the use of Google’s voice search through an android phone is as easy as it can possibly get.
    Where ever you are in the phone, you just have to hold down the magnifying glass button for two seconds to open the voice prompt and start speaking.

    Also the ability to say “navigate to 652 Main St” and have it
    giving you voice guided turn by turn direction within seconds is amazing and completely underrated.

  • John

    Cheers @E.J.,

    Guilty as charged. But then again, what’s opinion without conviction. Boring.

    You’re very sweet (and by sweet I mean unfortunately simple). However, my “garbage” still trumps your inability to recognize the reality of SEL’s (c)overt bias and motivations.

    I will give Danny, Greg & Co. credit for sharing their strong opinions though. Conversely, dissenting voices need to be heard and considered as well. That’s the foundation of any decent debate. Is it not?

    As much as I disagree with SEL and your opinions, I still absolutely respect your right to voice them. That’s what your American First Amendment is predicated on right? The alternative would be Chinese style censorship or a “Fox style” one way conversation.

    Ignorance may be bliss, but the truth shall set you free… or in this case, lead you to the Apple store.

    BTW “where ever” should actually be “wherever” – just saying… here to help.

    Was that short enough to follow?

  • TimmyTime

    Shocking I’ll tell you. Even Danny didn’t like the S4 as much. Siri is of course no match for Google voice even for him but the camera sucks as well. Danny tried to take a picture at night in Vegas and didn’t come out clear. I am going to buy an S4 and try to look at Planet Neptune with it, maybe is not as good as they make it to be, especially when compared to the wonderful and googley Android phones.

    Greg and Co, maybe you should analyze the smartphone patent war and see if poor, innocent Google is being attacked for no reason.

  • Evie

    Of course, you are completely leaving out all the non-google search requests. “Remind me to wash my car 10 days from now.” “Wake me at 5:30 in the morning.” “Move my meeting with Felicia to Tuesday.”

    Those are the huge, huge Siri funcctions.

  • http://www.conversioningredients.com jec

    It’s a nice feature to help things completed easier.

    But, In fact, I use the “voice command” function for several times only.

    For me, it’s wierd talking to the phone/device without “real person” in it.
    I’m not convenience to use this feature in crowds.

    So, I just deleted the Google Voice app from my android phone. I think more memory resouce on my phone is better. Maybe I’m not getting used to it.

    Did you really use this?

  • timjones17

    For evidence of my statement, that more and more people are abandoning voice, so Siri is pretty much useless, google the words: voice call decline. People interact with their phones through the screen so much, that voice interaction is an afterthought. Already starting out with alot of shortcomings, Siri, like Ping, is destined as a rarely used feature.

  • http://screenwerk.com Greg Sterling

    Speaking only for myself and not anyone else here at SEL . . . ain’t no Google fanboy. Could show you dozens of posts that are critical of Google in one way or another.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Timmy, I guess you’ll read whatever you want to into whatever I write. On the camera, I said:


    “Nice moon over Las Vegas though tough for even the iPhone 4S camera to really capture. Why don’t phones have human eye mode?”

    In other words, it was a nice view I was looking at, but even the excellent camera that the iPhone 4S has can’t capture how big the moon looked to my human eye, and that I jokingly wished any phone had a human eye mode.

    That’s nothing like suggesting that the iPhone sucks compared to Android, as you’re making it out to be. The last time I put the iPhone head-to-head with Android, I said this:


    “In the end, I still find myself feeling a sense of relief when I go back to using my iPhone. The interface of native apps feels better. The overall experience feels better. The phone is more compact. It just seems to work better.”

    Saying the iPhone is better and more relaxing than Google’s Android brand seems the opposite of being a fanboy, but whatever.

    I went on to list four areas that the Android still had an edge on the iPhone:

    1) Google Voice Actions
    2) GPS Navigation
    3) Google Voice
    4) 4G speed

    When Siri was launched, I wrote (and this goes to your concerns, too, John), this about this last week:

    How Siri Patches Up The iPhone’s Voice Search Weakness Vs. Android

    If I were a fanboy, if no matter what Google does, it has to be right, I suppose the headline would have been something like “Siri Tries But Will Never Beat Google.” Instead, it was about Siri taking the iPhone at or beyond a previous weakness I’d seen in it against Android (and there are plenty of things Android is already weak in against the iPhone).

    John, in my review of Siri in finding local information yesterday, I wrote that I was disappointed that it didn’t lead directly to more detailed information from Yelp rather than “useless” information from Google Maps. I suppose, again, a fanboy couldn’t bring himself to suggest that Google might be useless in any way.

    From that review, about Google, I also wrote these glowing statements:

    “I asked Siri for “Places to eat.” It pretty awesomely interpreted that to mean nearby restaurants, a natural language query that Google Voice Actions, as I’m tested them, disappoints on.”

    “As I said, Google does pretty badly with the natural language queries that Siri is designed to handle…. There’s no nice list, not even any localization going on, plus you get an ad shoved in a the top, among the disappointments.”

    John, I’m glad you respect the rights of other people to have opinions. That’s not what the US First Amendment is based on. That’s actually based on the US government itself not having the right to prevent people from speaking their minds. People in general just listening to what other people have to say is what I’d think common courtesy allows.

    I can tell you that SEL has no pro-Google agenda. If they suck, they get called out for that. If you need some particularly strong articles just from me doing this, you might check out:


    In terms of covering dissenting opinions about Google generally, as of this date, we have over 300 stories tagged in our Google: Critics category alone:


    In terms of owing our existence to anyone, we owe it to writing quality content that our readers trust. If they don’t trust us, they don’t read. Plus, speaking for our editorial staff, we want to write what we believe in.

    I’m typing this on my MacBook Air, by the way, which is the most beautiful, elegant laptop I’ve ever owned. I’ve socially shared about that many times. Maybe TimmyTime can look up some of those references he’s missed.

    During the day, I also use another Mac — a MacBook Pro. I do run Windows 7 on that, because I find than when I’m powering three external monitors, the Windows platform deals with my particular style and needs in using multiple windows better than iOS. But the MacBook Pro hardware, keyboard, screen is so much better than other laptops that I pay a premium to use it.

    My primary tablet is an iPad — the Android tablets I’ve used are a joke compared to it, clunky, hard to use. I own an iPhone in addition to my Android phone — I’ve maintained both months because I think the iPhone platform is crucial to be up on, because as I’ve written, its so good, so useful and obviously so used by many. If someone asked me which smartphone they should use, in most cases, I’d say go Apple, because it’s going to be a better all around phone to use.

    The key reason I don’t use my iPhone more than my Android phone is mainly because my Android phone does true 4G speed through Verizon. If you’ve had Verizon 4G, going back to 3G sucks. I’d love for the iPhone to get 4G. When it does, that might return as my primary phone. But for me, putting up with the extra hassle of Android (and it is extra hassle in many ways) is worth it for the speed.

    What else? I bought a new iMac for the house last week. Everyone in my family uses a Mac. Other than myself, it’s an all iPhone world.

    I do prefer Roku to Apple TV, but that’s primarily because Roku offers more choice in providers. Here’s my past chart, if you want to study that for a fair and balanced assessment yourself:


    Even then, I said this about Apple TV:

    “If you’re an Apple person, especially anyone already heavily using iTunes to watch content on your computer or Apple device, Apple TV is a compelling buy. But if you use Hulu a lot, then the Roku might be a better choice.”

    It’s a really nice device, especially if you’re using other Apple products. What did I say about Google TV, in comparison:

    “If you’re an early adopter with cash to burn, then Google TV might be for you. Otherwise, you may wish to wait until the software improves and the prices likely drop, as more competitors come into the space.”

    Not particularly glowing.

    I’ve been covering the search space for over 15 years now, from before we had Google. I’ve always called things as I see it. I’ve written defense piece plenty of times for when companies other than Google have been called out, such as:


    But Google, being the big huge player in the space, gets called out more. And sometimes, it gets called out without any real balance being provided. So occasionally, I try to provide some of that, because I think the world could use more balance in it — not just the one-sidedness that is all to common.

    I also, of course, write things against Google at times when people give it too much credit than it deserves, or when they don’t call it out for things where it should be.

    I think we could use a lot more thoughtful discourse, and a lot less assumption that everything is written with some particular agenda in mind. I can appreciate that you might feel everything is one-sided here. I cannot tell if that’s because, perhaps, you’re simply having that preconception in your mind. What I can tell you is there’s absolutely no attempt to be that way, to simply paint any company in some positive light. We just write things as we see them. You can chose to believe that or not, but that’s all I can tell you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/JARVIS-System/130449203654039 J.S.

    I think the readers here would be interested to take a look at the Cyman System (http://www.cymansystem.com) which we have been developing for the past year or so. When watching the Siri demo and this article, we were shocked to find Apple had been developing something so similar (although ours is primarily for Android and your personal computer, the Mac to start with).

    We have not released our product yet, but we have several demos on our facebook (http://www.facebook.com/cymansystem), google+ and youtube pages (all linkable from the website) which are comparable to the tests in this article. If anything, after looking at these comparisons, we are more confident about bringing our product to centre stage!

  • Scott Ableman

    Siri is undoubtedly impressive (now that it’s integrated with the iPhone), and Google Voice still doesn’t do notes or calendar items yet, but I agree people are really selling Google Voice short.

    Nobody has mentioned music, for example. Tell your iPhone 4S that you want to listen to Lady Gaga, and you get your playlist of purchased music. Tell your Android phone that you want to listen to Lady Gaga, and Lady Gaga starts playing even if you’ve never purchased a Lady Gaga song. You can set preferences to use services like Pandora or Slacker when you don’t own the music. Apple of course would never go there. I don’t understand why more people don’t tout this great function.

    Separately, as somebody already mentioned, the “Navigate” command in Google Voice Actions blows away Siri’s directions, and it’s free. You have to buy a $100 app to get similar functionality on the iPhone.

    Oh, right. Whoops. Apple fans don’t like to talk about price. They buy screen protectors (Mfg cost 5¢, Apple Price $15) and $40 protective “bumpers” (Mfg cost 20¢, Apple Price $29) and proprietary chargers (Mfg cost 50¢, Apple Price $29) without blinking, as if their iPhones were beloved children and not a pocket gadget that they’ll be replacing in 12-18 months. Every other global phone manufacturer agreed to standards like microUSB years ago, but if Apple dared to do such a thing, how would they be able to maintain those record profits?

  • Michel

    Google needs you to come to their site and see the ads. If Siri is going to filter them out, it sure as hell is a Google killer, especially if Siri leads to more searches.

  • Ian Groves

    Basic research would be very nice here, Windows Phone Mango (7.5) does indeed have a similar feature in it’s tellme technology. I did upgrade to an iPhone 4s but I really miss the tellme interface for handsfree texting on my WP as it was faster and required fewer prompts. I know they are a tiny section of the smartphone user base but you change your ending comment to “I chose not to review the Windows Phone 7.5 tellme interface” insted of the blatantly false “There is nothing like Siri on Windows Phone”.

  • http://www.adamsherk.com Adam Sherk

    In reading through this comment thread I thought I’d somehow been transported to TechCrunch….

  • Jim Huls

    When people start talking about how google makes their money, many broadly state it’s the ads. I think what people tend to not look at is the details. Google ads might get filtered by Siri but what we don’t know are two things…

    1. How valuable the data is that google is collecting from increased queries for ads that do get displayed.

    2. What the licensing agreement is between them and Apple. I’m not going to say that Apple is paying a licensing fee because we know that Google has been paying companies for the use of google search in their browsers. I’m sure there is some license of sorts between them and that Google is going to benefit greatly from it.

    All in all google isn’t stupid. Some on the net and here are trying to add drama where there really isn’t any. There are variables to all of this that nobody really knows as of yet.

  • A D

    I like your somewhat impartiality but here are some things worth noting:

    – yelp is the additional content or information.

    – advertisements work through page visits not page queries. This is how Google will be affected

    – Siri performs a Google search only if Safari is defaulted to Google. Yahoo and Bing are other options. 

  • Egil Andre Greaker

    If I am not mistaken; Siri uses not only google search engine, but alpha wolfram API to understand what the user is asking for. As mentioned before, it is absurd to compare Siri with Google Voice.
    And all you google and apple fans, don’t forget about Microsoft.
    They have been on the voice recognition marked for a very long time, and they even had it on the windows phone 7 prior IPhone 4S. You dont compare Microsoft with Google Voice, why is that?

  • Warren

    I think what this article fails to acknowledge is that, it’s not simply what Siri does, but how Siri does it that is impressive and unique. The NLP that Siri leverages makes communicating with it very different than other voice recognition technologies. While you may say “Oh, thats not a big deal,” you are basically de-emphasizing what makes us human.

    Put simply, Siri’s innovations are around the “How” not the “What.” This article is indeed biased, purposely or not, in Google’s favor because it focuses on the “What.” Google’s implementation does much of what Siri does, but requires a different and more scripted communication method.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/JARVIS-System/130449203654039 J.S.

    Our Cyman System has been covering the more complex reminders for a few months now – we were trying to cover ground Google has not covered (though we are making it for Android). So we can definitely say Siri is doing the same, given how strangely similar it is to ours. We have been Android fans, but we have to admit here that Apple took a few more steps on this one.

  • http://fundev.blogspot.com Martin

    I think you’re missing one very important point:

    Google doesn’t support major languages beside English. For example I’m speaking German and as Austrian I have an even funnier pronunciation than my German neighbors.

    The English version doesn’t help me because my phone doesn’t understand me. But the German version is castrated – no note taking for example.

    Google fails here – and it fails hard.

    Just saying as Android developer.

  • http://azzlsoft.com Azzl

    I thought this article was pretty objective. I was even performing the same queries on my Windows Phone (press and hold the Windows button) to see how it faired. It turns out that it’s amazingly comparable to Android, but clearly not the same experience as Siri.

    Imaging my surprise when I got to this point:

    “Microsoft also has formidable speech assets but there’s nothing like Siri or Google Voice Actions on Windows Phones currently.”

    Uh, what? What was I doing that whole time?

    You should fix your article.

  • http://www.ericperlberg.com eric perlberg

    One thing that seems clear to me is that Apple has somehow, yet again, taken a technology that others also have (more or less… to be debated) and rather than just letting it be a “feature” has put that feature in the public eye and has everyone talking about it. This may seem like mere “marketing” to many but not to me. Marketing is what you do with toothpaste and margarine and cars to try to win minor gains in market share. People are used to marketing and can spot it a kilometre away. When Apple does its magic (iPods, podcasts, iPads) it transforms the public dialogue in a way which is meaningful to large swathes of people. It’s not hype, its connecting on a visceral level. Google connects viscerally with geeks, Apple connects viscerally with non-geeks.

  • William Myers

    Greg’s article delivered what I hoped to see:  A feature comparison between Siri and Google Voice.  I ditched my elegant and graceful iphone when it became apparent that it only functioned, for me, when I was away from work, and away from home.  Apple’s deal with the devil (that would be ATT’s exclusive marketing deal) didn’t help me when I got spotty to no coverage during my waking hours in Baltimore, MD, one of the largest cities in the United States.  Elegant design has its place.  But I didn’t buy my iphone to set in a glass bell jar for all to admire and envy.  As for John’s paragons of perfection, he was humming along nicely until he went one genius too far:  Frank Lloyd Wright, known as much for his gargantuan ego as his design prowess, did indeed produce stunning designs.  His masterpiece, Fallingwater, would be sitting in a heap of rubble at the bottom of a waterfall had his client not had the foresight and matching strength of personality to run his plans by his own engineer, who correctly insisted upon at least twice as much rebar in the cement – else the cantilevered terraces would not survive.  That being said, visiting Fallingwater still leaves me breathless.
    That story should remind John of another more recent one:  He seems to have forgotten about antenna-gate.  
    So John’s post script should indeed be taken to heart.  Make up your own mind.  
    Oh, and John, it really should be “Hey ho, to each his own.”  Just sayin’.  

  • Bill Miller

    Look, all i want it to set appointments BY VOICE and get a warning signing at the time of appointmenr..

    Can the Android system ddo that?

  • Bill Miller

    I will rarly use the Iphone r3 that I might buy.

    What is the absolute lowest cost service plan I can buy?
    Right now i see $60.00 per month.

    Any discount for senior citizens (75) that I can take advantage of?