The Google Assistant finished tops among the digital brains that power smart speakers in an extensive Q&A test, answering nearly 88 percent of queries correctly.
The test by Minnesota venture capital firm Loup Ventures asked digital assistants made by Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple 800 questions in five categories: local facts, general information, navigation, commerce and commands. Google finished well ahead of the pack with Apple’s Siri on the HomePod coming in second at 74.6 percent of questions answered correctly, followed by the Amazon Alexa-powered Echo at 72.5 percent and the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana at 63.4 percent.
Each digital assistant showed improvement over a year ago, when Google Assistant finished with 81 percent correct answers, followed by Alexa at 64 percent, Cortana at 56 percent and Siri at 52 percent. The study attributed the HomePod’s jump to “the enabling of more domains in the past year.”
“With scores nearing 80-90 percent, it begs the question, will these assistants eventually be able to answer everything you ask? The answer is probably not, but continued improvement will come from allowing more and more functions to be controlled by your voice,” according to the report. “This often means more inter-device connectivity (e.g., controlling your TV or smart home devices) along with more versatile control of functions like email, messaging, or calendars.”
Aside from HomePod, the Echo made the biggest jump over last year. The largest improvement came in the general information area, which Loup says could be tied to the new Alexa Answers information crowd-sourcing program. One surprising finding is that Amazon did not have the best score in the commerce section, that too went to Google.
Google Home and Apple HomePod scored highest on navigation questions, which is no surprise given their in-house mapping functions. Google Home finished tops in four out of five categories, with Apple coming in first in commands. That’s because, according to Loup, the HomePod passes most commands on to the iOS device paired with the speaker, which has much deeper integrations in areas like calendar and email.