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Watch how Cortana stacks up to Google Voice and Siri in this 50-phrase demo video

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Watch how Cortana stacks up to Google Voice and Siri in this 50-phrase demo video
After the 50 Google Now and 50 Siri questions, now comes the time for Microsoft's voice-activated virtual assistant Cortana to shine. Coming with Windows Phone 8.1 handsets in a limited beta availability (US, UK and China for now), Cortana proves to be a rather capable voice assistant, rivaling Google Now and Siri.

That's undoubtedly thanks to Microsoft's multi-year research in the field of voice recognition, artificial intelligence, and direct translation, but don't take our word for it, see for yourself in the video below. We've also included the 50-phrase Google Now and Siri videos for direct comparison.

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posted on 22 Aug 2014, 09:52 13

1. shaineql (Posts: 355; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)

Cortana has still alot to learn.
Google now is just smashing at the moment because of HUGE support from its search engine and google maps, location based things and search based things are so far best out there.
As for Siri , very good , near the google , but still lacking in search and maps.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:13 13

3. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1442; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

True that. I love Google's way of implementation on Google Now though it lacks personality. It is alot more practical with card showing information even without asking. I still think talking to a phone in the middle of public is kinda weird. And M$ did a great job on cortana with such a limited time with great pace on adding more and more features.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:55 1

23. techspace (Posts: 1036; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)

google now doesn't lack personality, you just need to install commandr :D

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 17:53 4

66. sgodsell (Posts: 3629; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

The 3 videos are done at different times. For Instance the Google Now video was taken on Nov 24, 2013. The Siri video was taken Dec 5, 2013. And the Cortana video was taken on Aug 22, 2014.
Since that time there has been a number of updates to Google Now and Siri. So letsbehonest here.

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 04:11

74. techspace (Posts: 1036; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)

You replied to me instead of letsbehonest. :D

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 10:51 1

78. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1442; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Where do i lack honest here. Cant you see how fast m$ improving cortana?? Please refer to wp central for more info. They catch every thing about wp very fast. & cortana is cool. And i wasn't comparing any of this assistants, iwasjust saying i love google approach and giving credits to MS since they did a good jowbb. Donna much abt siri since i haven't used it for some time

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:18 17

4. Johnnokia (Posts: 1093; Member since: 27 May 2012)

Sorry. But you are wrong!
I found Cortana the best in this demo and very enjoyable.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:36 11

11. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

Cortana uses Bing Satori, a knowledge repository of more than a billion objects digested in the past 3.5 years, just like Google's Knowledge Graph, Satori catalogs entities and the associated data and relationships among them. They both crawl the Web and utilize existing data sources, such as Freebase (owned by Google) and Wikipedia, to build their repositories of semantically rich encoded information that can help answer questions in milliseconds, rather than deliver a page of links.

Cortana incorporates the best of Google now and Siri while also adding capabilities not found in either like for eg. Event or contact based notification ("when your sister calls, tell her happy birthday") or having a sense of humor like for eg. Answers sassy questions like "Are you sexy, Google now doesn't do that, Cortana has more personality than either of them.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:06 2

26. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)

"Answers sassy questions like Are you sexy"
you must be asking cortana for a date or ask to strip too eh?
Lacking touch of a woman, Tony Presscot?

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:28 12

28. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

You must have hit your head lol. Im simply showing that Coratana has more of a personality than Google now, you sound butthurt, your feelings get hurt so easily Straightedgeliar. No idea what Tony Prescott means.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:53 1

34. Pattyface (Posts: 1612; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)

Haha! That made my day

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 14:01 3

47. sgodsell (Posts: 3629; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

If you happen to use and need information on any other OS other than Microsoft's OS's then bing sucks. But I guess you would never know that if you are only in a Microsoft world.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 14:24 4

50. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

Well that's actually not true. Bing has 4.3 stars out of 5 on Google play store for eg.


posted on 23 Aug 2014, 16:33

81. sgodsell (Posts: 3629; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Are you that draft or just can't read. We all know that all the search engines have apps on other platforms app stores. Its the information look up and results that is the problem. If you need information in regards to say Android, Chrome OS, Linux, Firefox OS, Sailfish, OS X, iOS, or any OS that is not Microsoft based, then bing's results are not good. That is the truth.

posted on 24 Aug 2014, 18:20

86. Dastrix (unregistered)

Prove it or it's all BS.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:41

33. engineer-1701d (unregistered)

yes i am hahahahaha so what of it.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:19 5

18. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Support from a search engine that has proven to be %1 better in search related queries in a recent test.

Location based things? Like Cortana telling when i go to any store to buy something. Any store, not one selected but any store. Meaning i dont have to pick a store, cause what if i want to go to a store at random? I do this alot while driving. Bam cortana knows i am there and reminds me. You can also specify things. Example. Next time i am at a flower shop, remind me to buy flowers. So now it will ignore non-flower shops and only remind me when i go to any flower store, or it will suggest one nearby etc.

She even knew my routine. She knew that i go to work at 530, and i leave my house sooner. She started to know when i leave, so that if i dont leave at that time, she reminds me too and knows the traffic so i can get there on time. If i do leave before that time she doesnt remind me. I did not set this up, all i setup was my work address.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:26 2

20. AustinPaul (Posts: 67; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)

Yup, Google Now knows when it's the weekend and that I'm headed to the marina and if there are any delays and travel time, etc.

I don't get too deep into the appointment requests, but I know that I don't need the sense of humor as some mention. To me, that's a fun novelty that wears off quickly.

Regardless, it's good to see everyone stepping it up to try to be the best.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:25 1

44. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

I had to set that up on my note 3, guess i jumped the gun and didnt let google now just do it. Example. Google now i put appointment in calander with place and time, great i have told it where i am going, gives me traffic update.

For Cortana, i never told it i was going to work. I saved the address as a work place that was it. I never told it what time i go to work, when i leave, there is no calendar event for work. But over time it knew i went to my work m-f, at this time. Arrived at this time. Knew i left my house at this time. I never set these parameters. After it got to know me, it started to tell me to leave for work.

Google now, has never randomly popped up saying i need to go to work. Unless i put an event in. Perhaps i need to dig deeper into my google now a setting i am missing or something.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:23 1

43. wilsong17 (unregistered)

I hate to brake the party but how long has Google now being doing the same

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:54 3

46. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Not very long. Just pulled up my HTC One.

Got my 925 side by side with the HTC.

"Remind me when i visit a flower shop to buy flowers"

-Google got me flower shops in a google search page.
-Cortana, said ok, ill remind you, gave me nearest shop, allowed me to choose any flower shop (perfect for me) or other flower shops nearby. Then set a reminder.

Of course there are things Cortana doesnt do either.

How ever if i need to adjust my speech let me know so i can do it right on google.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 14:01 1

48. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Nevermind im a tard, my htc one google now was off. However it wanted me to input date and time and i am not finding a location based reminder so that when i visit at any time at any flowershop to remind me.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 20:37

68. joey_sfb (Posts: 5741; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

I don't like to talk to my phone. I used voice assistant to speed up data input and information delivery so the less personality the better.

Actual experience i prefer Google now over Siri.

Cortana is primarily meant for US audience.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:39 2

32. engineer-1701d (unregistered)

i think cortana is better more natural sounding and quicker response, i tried some of the google now ones on my phone and got something different maybe its because its a 2 year old phone. how can you say lacking in search and maps, when the world mostly uses google maps and google search.?
i wish my android wear worked on ms i would not mind a windows device with her on it.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:13 9

2. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Siri to me is so annoying cause you have to touch the phone every single time. With BOTH Google Now & Cortana all you need to do is speak to it. I am impressed by Cortana. It's still in BETA.

Google Now is the clear champ, head over heals better than Siri. Cortana is closed the gap significantly in my opinion & the ease of just talking to it makes it a better assistant than Siri.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:20 7

5. tech2 (Posts: 3455; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

Yup and the big advantage Google has is that Google Now can be updated just like any other app where Siri and Cortana needs an OS update. Although updates are easier push for Apple and MS but still OS updates don't come every week like an app like Google Now gets.

Besides we've already seen how not so smooth the updates to all Windows phone devices have been unlike Apple's.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:26 7

6. wigib2 (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Aug 2014)

Actually, MS states that they update Cortana on the server side, so no need for an OS update. The brief time I played with a Nokia Icon running 8.1 Developer Preview, they updated things a few times. Definitely a better solution than Siri!

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 18:57

67. tech2 (Posts: 3455; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

Would an improvement in voice recognition can also be passed through without an OS update ?

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 01:46 4

71. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

Yes.. Everything single thing that Cortana does is updated on MS's side.... One day you wake up, and Cortana has a more natural voice.. Cortana's voice wasn't always so natural, and she still says some things mono toned. But, as MS updates Cortana dynamically we are seeing Cortana evolve every week without having to do a thing... Good job on MS's part with that one... Let's not forget that Cortana is still in beta.... One thing that is interesting is how the animations can change by MS pushing an update to Cortana..... This all is actually nothing new for WP as Bing search on WP, it's layout, and features, have been updated this way since WP7.5... It's almost like when you're opening Cortana you're actually opening a webpage, I guess,,, but you would never know by the way it seems so embedded into the OS..
Apple, Microsoft, and Google really can do some amazing things.. In the future? Gaming consoles are a thing of the past.. It's just your tv, and a controller... Because of huge advancements in latency the Xbox, and PlayStation will turn into services like Netflix, and may come pre loaded, or download for a fee, into TV sets... Technology is awesome!

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 09:48

76. tech2 (Posts: 3455; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

Fair enough. Wasn't aware of that but good insights. Although I still hold my doubts on console being thing of the past in near future somehow (although I hope does happen).

So many of such services which do exactly what you mentioned have already started by none were succesfful so far. Only if one of the big 3 try to start there maybe an actual chance.

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 10:57

79. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

No, not the near future.. Maybe 2020... Read this.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:00

16. iampayne (Posts: 322; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)

Siri does not need a OS update. Its gets updated just like Apple maps, everyday. Example, the phase "where can i hide a body" presents you with a different answer than it did before without any OS update being pushed out. Apple changed the answer for legal reasons.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:14 3

17. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

This is where you are wrong, a simple search would have given you the answer.

Cortana can be updated at any time. Cortana is html5 based front wrapper, while powered by bing on the back end. Because of this a simple bing update on MS servers updates Cortana's functionality.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:56

37. Pattyface (Posts: 1612; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)

Again I love that folks respond but have no idea what they are talking about. Tech clearly is wrong and a simple search showed it.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:53 2

22. ManusImperceptus (Posts: 724; Member since: 10 Jun 2014)

All the hubs, including Cortana, have been removed from the OS as of WP 8.1. They don't need an OS update to get one of their own.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 17:28 1

64. DarkStar286 (Posts: 218; Member since: 18 Mar 2014)

You have no idea what you're talking about. Cortana doesn't exist on the phone, it's all server-side and Microsoft can and do updates to it at any time without pushing an update to the phone. As for OS updates, well it's impossible to be as smooth as a company that only releases one phone per year, but there haven't been any problems with the official Windows Phone updates. They're certainly more reliable than Androids!

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 01:49

72. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

Ohhh don't start that!!

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:26 4

7. yahia_malka (Posts: 186; Member since: 27 Mar 2014)

Siri and google now is nowhere beside Cortana

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:30 6

8. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)

Cortana is the best imo, it's smart and quite talkative.
Google Now is excellent, it's also smart and good at searching.
Siri is...well...not bad, it's smart but the accent is quite weird.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:40 1

13. DogeShibe (Posts: 1113; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)

Siri's accent is more robotic...

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:33 8

9. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

I am biased no doubt, but you can't go too wrong with any of them currently.

I prefer GN.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:08 3

40. darkkjedii (Posts: 21211; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Rite Shock, all of em will get you there. All of em will hiccup now and then, it's really apples to oranges to pears. Fanboys of all 3 camps will find something to argue about though. See post 30.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 16:27 1

56. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

Agreed DJ, agreed.

The auras of zealots, can actually taint their causes.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:34 3

10. JayFiveAlive (Posts: 67; Member since: 30 May 2014)

Definitely liked Cortana the best, Google was 2nd for me. Siri did pretty well too though. Props to MS.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:39 4

12. DogeShibe (Posts: 1113; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)

Looks like MS is finally getting things right !! Cortana is better than siri and rivals with GN. They are trying so hard that they WILL succeed.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 10:56 4

14. Ty_inCA (Posts: 18; Member since: 13 Oct 2013)

Hilarious and vaguely NSFW example of Cortana beating Google Now. Ask both where the best place to get a happy ending massage in your respective location. Google simply brings up the wiki page for sketchy massage parlors. Cortana delivers a far more useful variety of sketchy websites devoted to cataloging and mapping them.

Thus continues Bing's disreputable domination of Google in all adult related searches.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:22

42. wilsong17 (unregistered)

Actually you are wrong the problem os that Google block all of that but like 3 years ago Google allow any type of search man you could find anything you wanted

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:00 3

15. T.Law (Posts: 414; Member since: 10 May 2014)

Google Now > everything else.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:25 1

19. needa (Posts: 205; Member since: 30 Jun 2014)

i noticed pretty quickly that his gnow works differently than mine. then i looked at the date it was published... november 2013. it might be time to revisit.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:32 2

21. mike2959 (Posts: 537; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)

Having a iPhone 5 in my hand, a LG g pro 2, and a nokia 1520, hands down Cortana beats them both. With Google being 2nd.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:48 2

45. Deaconclgi (Posts: 405; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Same here. iPhone 4s (sold my 64GB 5s), Nexus 5 and Lumia 1520 and Cortana beats them both with speed, accuracy, natural voice, abilities and general interactions such as continued conversation that reference the original question.

I have used Android devices since the G1, iPhones since the 4 and Windows Phones since the 710 and each platform has matured and added features. Cortana offers a more pleasant personal assistant that can factually do a few things that others cannot.

Before leaving for a 3 state road trip, I told Cortana to "Remind me to call my daughter when I get home." I arrive in town 6 hours later, tired, and the only thing on my mind is going to sleep as soon as possible. As soon as I pull into my driveway, Cortana reminds me to call my daughter!!!"

Siri and Google Now are great for what they do yet Cortana not only does what they do but then there are things like what has been mentioned above that are simply amazing and game changing in everyday use.

A coworker wanted us to bring him a certain flavor milkshake back from Steak N Shake. "Cortana, remind me to buy Bob a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough shake when I get to Steak N Shake". Cortana says "I'll remind you." Along the way, talking with other coworkers, I said "Aw man, I forgot what kind of shake he wanted!!!" Got to Steak N Shake and Cortana reminds me. I say "Thanks" Cortana says "Anytime Chief." in a super friendly, non robotic voice.

If Cortana had hands, I would have given a high five on the spot.

Some people don't want to give credit where it is due either because they are biased to what they like and have experience with or they are just upset that their tech cannot do the same. As I started out, I own iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices and I used them in my personal life and career daily and I would rather ask Cortana a question before I'd ask Siri or Google Now because the information, implementation and experience of using Cortana really is closer to a human personal assistant that Siri or Google now at this moment in time.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 11:58

24. frydaexiii (Posts: 1443; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

I'm surprised no one has ported Cortana as a TTS voice for Android yet. Unless it's because the voice is hosted online and is being fetched in realtime.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 17:32 1

65. DarkStar286 (Posts: 218; Member since: 18 Mar 2014)

It is hosted on Microsoft's servers and fetched in realtime. this allows them to update it at any time without pushing an update out to the phones.

posted on 23 Aug 2014, 22:08

82. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Online and probably would breach so many legalities it would never fly. MS pays Jen Taylor for the voice.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:02

25. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)

Google now is still more practical, accurate at voice recognition, no chit just business!

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 14:10 7

49. Deaconclgi (Posts: 405; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

So less abilities is a plus just because it is on the OS you like? Nice spin there.

If Google Now had chit chat AND business and Siri and Cortana had only business, I can imagine that you would be one of the first to hold the lack of chit chat against Siri and Cortana.

I could see you pointing out their lack of abilities and boasting that Google Now is superior to both.

You say that GN is more practical? Based on what? You experience with Google Now? I use all 3 and it is more practical for me to tell my personal assistant to remind me to pick up distilled water the next time I go to walmart, any walmart and I arrive at some random walmart after a 700mile drive and I NEED distilled water but I have forgotten about it...I walk into walmart for candy and I am reminded of what is important and what I actually need.

You say GN is more accurate at voice recognition? Based on what? Your experience with GN? I use all 3 and Cortana consistently gets my voice commands right whether it is quiet, others are talking or even the windows in my car are rolled down and I am drive 70MPH and I say "Play Better Days" and my phone is in the cup holder. All 3 are good and all fail at times but what experience are you basing your superiority claim on?

No chit chat as a positive thing for GN? Ok, that is some serious self defense, biasedness, fanboyism and close minded mentality that is displayed there!

1. Cortana replies according to what you ask. If I ask for baseball scores, she isn't going to reply "Ring ding ding ger ringer ding ding".

If you want to chit chat, ask chit chat questions. If you want "just business" stick to just business-like questions and you will get just business-like answers. It really shows a lot of how you feel about the product you use and don't when you flaunt a lack of features as a positive and positive features as negatives.

2. As a GN user, you should want GN to have as many features as possible and be more open minded and HONEST enough to see outside of yourself that there are GN users that would like chit chat and other fun things and location and people reminders. Come on SEN, be realistic.

I use GN and I wish it could do things that Cortana does. I also wish I didn't currently have to press the search button to activate Cortana as voice activation is my favorite thing about GN on the Nexus 5.

I would look stupid proclaiming Cortana's current lack of touchless activation as a plus, as a win, as a leg up over the competition or as a POSITIVE thing.

I usually don't say much on PA but even if you are completely biased, don't let your bias blind you to where others can easily see how you really feel in what you are saying.

Enjoy GN, opt in for data gathering if you haven't already, submit feedback for future improvements but for all things good, you are not convincing anyone that a clear lack of features is a positive thing, especially since the software is design to meet everyone's needs and not just your needs.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 14:45 5

53. Penny (Posts: 1648; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

A couple of very well thought out posts deacon. Hats off to you for taking the time.

As somebody experienced with all 3 platforms in question, I also agree with most of what you said. Cortana understands what I am saying more accurately, more consistently than GN. While I speak clearly enough that I still get the results I want with GN, it gets a word wrong here or there very frequently compared to Cortana, especially in noisy environments like a car. I also tried this with a relative that has a British accent (here in the U.S.), and the problem was compounded. Cortana was leaps and bounds better for her, and she owns a Galaxy S5.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:16 4

27. darkkjedii (Posts: 21211; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

They'll all do more than a good job, and fall short at times. I have Google now on my Note 3, and Google now and Siri, on my 5s. I'm all set. No need for Cortana.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 12:29 1

30. AJagtiani (Posts: 466; Member since: 24 Apr 2014)

You should try Cortana. It's a lot better than GN and certainly better than Siri.

posted on 22 Aug 2014, 13:01 4

39. darkkjedii (Posts: 21211; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Not concerned with it. It's not on either of my main OS's. I'd also never buy a phone just for the voice assistant. Siri, and Google now do just fine. Nice try to dis Siri though :D

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