Google Now beats Cortana and Siri in knowledge base competition

Google Now beats Cortana and Siri in knowledge base competition
We've all seen the videos and articles that compare Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, but most are relatively limited in scope, because of time/article length constraints. That is not what we're seeing from Stone Mountain Consulting, which compared the three products by asking the same 3000+ questions to each. Of course, the testing was specifically targeting the knowledge base of each, so it probably shouldn't be a surprise that Google Now won this fight.

Part of the study looked at how the query answers were presented to the user. In this case, Google Now showed a separate card with the query answer along with the other search results 58% of the time, while Siri included that knowledge base data 29% of the time, and Cortana just 20% of the time. However, that's really just a matter of formatting and contextual information, a much more important factor is how often your question is answered completely, and in that case Google Now blew away the competition. 

Google Now returned the complete answer a whopping 88% of the time, while Siri was at 53%, and Cortana at 40%. It should be noted how that was judged - if the question was "How old is the Great Wall of China?" an answer was only deemed complete if the knowledge card data returned the answer of ~2220 years old. If the card said that the Great Wall was built in 206 BC, that wouldn't count as complete, nor would it count if the search results below contained the answer. Given how much more often Google Now has knowledge cards included, it was already poised to win, but having an 88% success rate for complete answers under those strict guidelines is still very impressive. 

We considered giving Cortana a bit of leeway for being the newcomer, but while Cortana is new, the knowledge base it draws on (Bing) has been around since mid-2009. Given Bing's relative age, it's actually a bit sad to see Apple ahead of Cortana, especially since Apple doesn't own a search engine. 

Of course, as we noted at the start, this was a competition strictly in terms of getting answers to knowledge base questions, and did not judge differences between virtual assistant functions of each. When it comes to setting reminders, changing phone settings, managing your calendar, sending messages and more, you may have a different take on the strengths of each system. 


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50 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 6846; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I love using "go go gadget Starbucks" on my Android Wear watch. To pay for my coffee.

2. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Google Now FTW!

3. TRUVILLE

Posts: 146; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Google take over the last best innovation for smartphones period!!

15. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google Now and Siri comparison is like comparing toast with French fries.

18. Chris_Bakke

Posts: 246; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

That...doesn't even make any sense.

32. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Sense? Sense?! THIS IS APPLE!!!

41. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Wow....and what about Cortana? That was in the test too....

4. Ziggy

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

I always thought Google Now was pretty awesome even though I was testing it on iOS. I think Google Now needs a little of a personality to be real near-perfect but as for the actual job it was given... it's pretty good.

6. Scott93274

Posts: 6025; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I have to disagree with you, the dry verbal response you get when it responds with a funny answer to a dumb question is pretty freakin funny. Cortana is an awesome piece of software, but right not it's like the blond of the three personal assistants, full of personality but lacking in capability. Still though, Microsoft is working hard to develop Cortana so I'm excited to see where it goes in the years to come.

10. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Yes , cortana is catching up very quickly. Heard that she'll be integrated in Search in W10 :)

27. Ziggy

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

Haha, I guess it's funny for a while but you know, looking onwards, to truly best this design would mean to give your personal assistant a personality of sorts. On a similar topic: Yar, Cortana is looking awesome and is catching up, FAST!

5. istitch

Posts: 181; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

i still prefer siri's personalitits

12. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 2013

"I'm sorry, I don't quite understand what you meant" Siri

28. rms.max

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

What is personali-tits ?

31. hurrycanger

Posts: 1755; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Apple better makes a 3d model animation of Siri soon. I would love to see her personalitits.

36. ZayZay

Posts: 571; Member since: Feb 26, 2011

HA! Reminds me of movie 43 where they had the iBabe.

7. Sid91 unregistered

Google now doesnt have a personality but it is amazingly fast and accurate,

8. TheStanleyFTW

Posts: 252; Member since: Feb 20, 2013

No surprise :D But I have to admit that Cortana is doing well...Remember that it is in beta state :D

9. SemperFiV12

Posts: 949; Member since: Nov 09, 2010

Given the test, not surprised with the results. However these are all virtual assistants and mot Snapple fact spitting features. But hey, Cortland is still in beta... some ways to go for all three platforms with regards to their virtual assistants.

11. TBomb

Posts: 1186; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

That last paragraph is important for this article.

42. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I dont see how...when the article is about a knowledge tests between the 3, not functionality, features, etc That last paragraph is important for each person to decide whats best for them, has nothing to do with the article.

13. jove39

Posts: 2140; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Not Surprised...Siri is a poser!

38. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Still beat cortana. Contrary to what windows cortana advertisements would want you to believe

14. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

For a Halo fan's overview, Cortana together with Master Chief they concquered the universe. And now she's on my WP which might think it's awesome. She reads my texts, reminders, ask me to reply, little bit of everything. She might not be as great as Google's but she is perfect for Windows Phone. Sleek and witty. The greatest thing? She have a face, not just any random circle.

16. snowgator

Posts: 3614; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

As far a setting reminders, and getting things on my calendar Cortana has been great. So far, she has looked up everything I asked and got me to the right places. Still, I am not about to have a heart attack and die from the shock of the surprise Google Now came in first though. This is the kind of function that plays to Google's strengths- information. I think it is a legit win that will likely hold up for a while. I just think all three are strong services, and improving quickly. No reason to jump from WP or Apple just for Google now. But another strength for Androids user base to enjoy.

17. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Google Now should win competitions like this, since data is Google's core competency. Apple is a hardware company that sells an integrated product. They don't need your data to survive, whereas Google is an advertising company that would go bankrupt if the data stopped flowing. Silly comparison.

22. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Just because google is a search doesn't make this comparison silly!!! If so then apple should never have made a siri....or atleast they should use google's data.... Just because your fav company lost it became useless to you...

25. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

It's not that, at all. I have conceded that point every time I talk about the two. Google Now is stronger on the data side, and Siri has more functionality. Google is data driven, so it is just inevitable they are stronger there. They prioritize knowing everything about their users because that is where the majority of their income is derived. Apple does not, and you canopy out of things you can't on Android, because Apple isn't an advertising company.

39. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

How does it have better functionality than google now?

44. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Oh yea.....see what Michael thought about Bing. MS isnt an advertizing company either...but its a damn shame Siri did better than Cortana. Seeing as how Apple doesnt have a search engine. Maybe Google and Apple handle personal data better than MS, huh....

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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