Feb 27 AT 4:37 PM Nick Gray 56 Comments

Google Voice Actions bests Apple Siri in Motorola tests

google_voice_actions_siri

There has been a lot of discussion on our site about Siri, Iris and even Google’s upcoming Majel, but how does Android’s current version of voice recognition software stack up against the competition? Motorola seems to think that Google Voice Actions is already better than Apple’s Siri and has a few videos to prove it.

The video below goes through a series of voice commends with an iPhone 4S and the Motorola Electrify. Even though Siri might have a bit of an advantage in recognizing conversational language, Google Voice Actions comes out on top when asked to send text messages, find driving directions and load a web page.

Motorola Atrix 2 versus iPhone 4S
Motorola Photon 4G versus iPhone 4S

We’re sure the folks over at Apple are not going to be impressed with Motorola’s videos, but the reality is that Google Voice Actions works really well and is available on all Android phones running Android 2.1 or higher. The only real issue with the service is that most Android users are not aware that it even exists. It’s a little ironic that Google (an advertising company) has such a hard time telling its consumers about Android features which are hidden in plain sight.

Google Voice Actions may be fast at sending out a text message or getting you from point A to point B, but we do enjoy the ‘human’ or ‘natural’ input that Siri provides. Would you use Voice Actions more if it was more conversational or was able to answer random questions like Siri does?

Source: Engadget

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Ironzey Lewis

    I wonder why they didn’t try “I really need to learn how to play a guitar.”

  • Jorge Vieira

    I Actually try this out all the time and goggle always win. Siri only wins in amusement and witty comments.

    • Tosh2.0

      quick some let GOOGLE know that “goggle” is on the rise!

    • Alex

      I disagree.. google voice actions is incredibly limited when compared to Siri. I tested it against a friends iPhone and other than the obvious (read: navigation) we were either tied or I was left in the dust.. Vlingo was a lot better but still not up to Siri level. I’m sure well see a serious competitor with the launch of Jelly Bean!

      • autonomousgerm

        You really did it now. Queue fanboy rage in 3…2….1…..

  • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

    If Google Voice Actions had some personality, I think it would be 10 times better. It works great for what it is, but I’d love it if it actually talked back to be rather than silently accepting my demanding orders.

    Can’t wait to see what Google cooks up with Majel.

    • Owain

      To be fair if it had the talk-back option, I’d probably disable it pretty quick – the novelty of such things wears off as it slows the whole thing down (and makes it feel like a toy!) – That’s my opinion though.

      • johnathon

        The beauty of the talk back feature is that you don’t have to look at the screen. As someone who drives for a living that is the most important feature.

        I held on to my Android phone cause I’m certain that once google comes out with majel it will beat the snot out of Siri. The special juice being that it will be able to work with all apps. Can’t wait.

        • Owain

          I see you point! :) Looking forward to see what come of it – Geek in me loves the the Majel reference too.

  • Vance

    I use Google Voice Actions all the time, especially when driving. I wouldn’t use it in the way Siri is advertised.
    My ideal future includes a voice recognition software that gets better with age, that can be calibrated to me, and to which I can add words, phrases, etc. I want to be able to easily punctuate, indent, go back, use jargon, etc. When I can dictate an entire email through my voice recognition service, then I’ll have “arrived”. :)

  • delinear

    This article nails it – the best thing about Siri is the advertising, Google relies to much on the handset manufacturers to advertise it’s amazing features, and the problem there is they want to focus on the features that make them different to other manufacturers, not the core Android features that are the same. I’d like to see some Google sponsored advertising about the amazing things you can do with Android phones in general.

    • thel0nerang3r

      That also makes it hard to advertise some features. If you recall, the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G replaced this feature with its “Genius” button (or whatever it was called) it used Dragon Naturally speaking. So, not 100% of features are guaranteed on every phone.

  • Joel

    Definitely. The whole life force of android is about having the choice and ability to customize, tweak, compete, compare, and so many other things that adds a personality to all our devices, the same should apply to our voice command system.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    The title rhymes :3 haha.

    And Google’s voice actions aren’t really something that I use on a daily basis, but when I do, it always works almost perfectly. Siri is entertaining, but Google beats it in every other area.

  • jsweetser2

    I would use voice actions more if it would simply integrate with Google poducts better – like Google Voice. It’s my ONLY caveat, it will not open Google Voice and send a text. I’ve been using Google Voice since it was called “Grand Central” and android is where it’s at for integration of the program, I easily produce 2k texts per month, if Voice actions would let me select a default program, i’d use it a LOT more often.

  • OsamaDROIDladden

    Pannous makes the jeannie app and she does everything SIRI does except geo fencing. I think its smarter than siri.I asked them both y is the sky blue. Siri told me what it was called,but VERONICA…thats what i named her,told me what it was and why it looked blue…she spoke for about 4 or 5 min. I liked it so much i purchased the paid version

    • SED

      …..which kills me.

      Why NOT do geo fencing? In fact, with Android, we should be able to get Geo AND time fencing.

      For example, “remind me of the groceries I have to buy when I pass the market, but only during their open hours of 9am to 6pm.”

      I can do that with Tasker + Astrid plugin, so I should be able to do it with Pannous as well.

  • rojo623

    The comments section surprised me today.
    To be honest, I’m totally content with Google Voice, not having a personality. It’s not useful at all, other than to show off to friends – much like the face unlock on my G-nex.

    Anybody who, in their lonesome, asks Siri personal questions is out of their mind. That commercial where the girl is like “I’m locked out” to the iPhone – while its awesome that Siri can (sometimes) decode the message to get her to a locksmith – those are not the kinds of decisions I want my phone to make.
    I am far more comfortable calling the shots, and saying w “navigate to a locksmith” or “websearch locksmith”

    Most of my friends are iPhone users, and almost none of them use Siri the way it’s advertised. In fact, for all the times, it fails they use it less altogether. It also takes so damn long to respond if you ask it complicated questions.

    Anyway, this commercial is biased in its commands, but yes, when you do ask questions the way your supposed to to Google Voice commands, it always works.

    • skugern

      You realize that the part about having semi-witty conversations with your phone is really just more advertising for Apple, right? When an iSheep shows all their friends how funny it is, Apple just got a captive audience.

  • kwills88

    I never get why there is a need for me to wanna hold a conversation with my phone, I just want it to work and do what I want it to do…advance technology was suppose to help you do more with less..when it comes to voice action Siri is sorta like a gimmick.

  • mustybooks

    I don’t know about having a conversation with my phone that’s still off-putting for me. I’d welcome a wider selection of more natural voices, like on GPS devices. Whether that’s possible or not I don’t know with all the varied dialogue that’s expected.

  • Hall Lo

    Indeed. Siri is very good at conversational operations, while Google can only handle some commands, but still I like how fast and accurate Google Voice Actions is, and its for all devices running Android 2.1 or above!

  • David

    Haha I just did this with my mom’s new 4S a couple weekends ago. My Droid X, pinnacle of 2010 technology that it is, destroyed Apple’s favorite new feature.

  • SED

    Siri does a great job selling the iPhone but when I see people actually put it into day-to-day practice, without fail, they essentially do all the things that I have been doing with Google Voice Actions or the built-in microphone icon on the keyboard for 8 months before Siri was even heard from.

    Want to stop a Siri demonstration in its tracks? Ask an iPhone user for their phone for a minute, then say to it, “Siri, I’m having a heart attack! Call me an ambulance!”

    Then, after it ignores your peril and says that from now on it will call you “An Ambulance”, hand it back to them and say, “Yeah, great phone ya got there.”

    • aranea

      All true but the problem lies in this sentence from the article: “It’s a little ironic that Google (an advertising company) has such a hard time telling its consumers about Android features which are hidden in plain sight.” The features are there. they are usually better than the competition yet they aren’t advertised. I mean look at the siri commercials. It can’t do most of th stuff they show in those commercials in real life. But the showing off gets a momentum and most people thing it’s their way of saying or something that doesn’t work not that siri is at fault.

  • Thomas MacDougall

    I hope that Google uses Majel Barret Roddenberry’s voice for majel

  • Slith

    It seems even more improved in ICS. My Nexus handles commands much better than my Thunderbolt seemed to be able too.

  • Schmidty850

    Google wins again!!

  • cb2000a

    The Woz prefers Google voice over Siri. It has better voice recognition (for accents and different styles of speech).

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

    The one time I’ve seen Siri used was by a friend who recently started working at Apple, and thus made the switch from Android to iOS (ironically, he’s the one who got me into Android in the first place when he showed off his “brand new” G1).

    It was embarrassing. He kept telling it to navigate to his house, and it failed to recognize his commands *4* times. I laughed, then pulled out my G2x with its crappy GPS while he kept trying to talk to Siri. I couldn’t get GPS lock. So I rebooted, pulled up Navigation, got GPS lock and received turn-by-turn navigation before he could even get Siri to acknowledge him.

  • sunrise

    Google Voice Actions is fantastic, quick and works accurately. It is a serious program that delivers. SiRi has witty comebacks, who cares.

    It amazes me that iPhone users think Apple invented something new. You try to tell them Android had voice recognition for a long time, they won’t believe you. iPhone users also think Apple invented the pull down notification. Next Apple will start using widgets and iPhone fans will think Apple invented that too.

    • aranea

      They already think that pull down notifications is the best thing to happen to cell phones and of course it’s invented by apple.

    • Erik Johnson

      Actually, Windows Mobile has had Voice Command since 2003, which doesn’t even need internet access to recognize commands… I am amazed it took Apple almost a decade to produce a crappy clone of something Microsoft invented…

      Nonetheless, Google Voice Actions is far better than MS Voice Command, which is one on the top reasons why I traded in my windows phone for an android

  • spazby

    not a siri fan, doubt I would be using it but I am sure there is a ton of people who love it….

  • Nathan D.

    And another point goes to team android.

  • Max.Steel

    THIS is what they need to be airing for commercials for their Droid phones not those vague, robotic crap.

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    Google Voice is good, Siri is cool, Majel will be amazing!

  • revs

    speak to it assistant is better than both
    like alot better

  • Shawn Clark

    Two words…Google Actions!!!

  • RonWeez

    yea its hilarious how apple fans act like they got something the world has never seen before. but some of that fault is on the manufactures because my dad has always had an android phone and just figured out that it has the voice feature. but i have a funny screen shot from my bros iphone on my twitter of him asking siri “which is better iphone or android” and siri responds “android” lol @ronweez

  • yankeesusa

    Only problem with the android voice actions is that it works better on some phones more than others due to noise cancellation feature. On my evo4g it wasn’t that good. On my evo3d its usable but on a nexus s4g it works great. So at this point if every new android phone came with noise cancel feature then yes this would be a great option. I do like the conversational feature in iphone though but sometimes the commercials just get way to descriptive and just seems stupid. I like conversations like, what is the weather going to be like or where is the closest walmart.. that is the conversations that make sense. Either way I still think that android brings more to the table than ios, its just not all android phones are as smooth as the nexus or galaxy s2.

  • kungpaodragon

    Absolutely would use it more if it was more conversational. And the previous user hits it, too. Works great on my N1 and Galaxy Nexus. Not so much on my wife’s Touch. Google really needs to emphasize more on usability. I would enlist iPhone users to help refine the usability. If Google can invent something even they can use without instruction + the technology Google offers, Google hits jackpot.

  • http://hubpages.com/profile/ibbarkingmad ibbarkingmad

    My buddy and I had a race to see who could send a text via dictation fastest. He had the iPhone 4s and I had the Samsung Epic 4G (my phone is already almost 2 years old) and I beat him hands down. Siri is a gimmic. It isn’t all that great and not a selling point to me. Flashy isn’t always the best and this just proves it.

  • phil

    I would use it more if it was faster…

  • Toby Harrold

    Keep up to date with the latest news about Google’s Awesome Products Here: https://plus.google.com/116335979828166759092

  • Funspirit

    I am looking forward to Majel. But I can’t keep delaying upgrading my phone forever. I thought majel would be out in April, at least Google is not releasing a “beta” version-
    Btw- here is a column about challenges for Google absorbing motorola.
    http://www.richmakesyourich.com/2012/04/challenge-of-digesting-motorola-for.html
    hope you like.

  1. I wonder why they didn’t try “I really need to learn how to play a guitar.”

  2. I Actually try this out all the time and goggle always win. Siri only wins in amusement and witty comments.

    • Tosh2.0Guest 3 years ago

      quick some let GOOGLE know that “goggle” is on the rise!

    • AlexGuest 3 years ago

      I disagree.. google voice actions is incredibly limited when compared to Siri. I tested it against a friends iPhone and other than the obvious (read: navigation) we were either tied or I was left in the dust.. Vlingo was a lot better but still not up to Siri level. I’m sure well see a serious competitor with the launch of Jelly Bean!

  3. If Google Voice Actions had some personality, I think it would be 10 times better. It works great for what it is, but I’d love it if it actually talked back to be rather than silently accepting my demanding orders.

    Can’t wait to see what Google cooks up with Majel.

    • OwainGuest 3 years ago

      To be fair if it had the talk-back option, I’d probably disable it pretty quick – the novelty of such things wears off as it slows the whole thing down (and makes it feel like a toy!) – That’s my opinion though.

      • johnathonGuest 3 years ago

        The beauty of the talk back feature is that you don’t have to look at the screen. As someone who drives for a living that is the most important feature.

        I held on to my Android phone cause I’m certain that once google comes out with majel it will beat the snot out of Siri. The special juice being that it will be able to work with all apps. Can’t wait.

        • OwainGuest 3 years ago

          I see you point! :) Looking forward to see what come of it – Geek in me loves the the Majel reference too.

  4. I use Google Voice Actions all the time, especially when driving. I wouldn’t use it in the way Siri is advertised.
    My ideal future includes a voice recognition software that gets better with age, that can be calibrated to me, and to which I can add words, phrases, etc. I want to be able to easily punctuate, indent, go back, use jargon, etc. When I can dictate an entire email through my voice recognition service, then I’ll have “arrived”. :)

  5. This article nails it – the best thing about Siri is the advertising, Google relies to much on the handset manufacturers to advertise it’s amazing features, and the problem there is they want to focus on the features that make them different to other manufacturers, not the core Android features that are the same. I’d like to see some Google sponsored advertising about the amazing things you can do with Android phones in general.

    • That also makes it hard to advertise some features. If you recall, the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G replaced this feature with its “Genius” button (or whatever it was called) it used Dragon Naturally speaking. So, not 100% of features are guaranteed on every phone.

  6. Definitely. The whole life force of android is about having the choice and ability to customize, tweak, compete, compare, and so many other things that adds a personality to all our devices, the same should apply to our voice command system.

  7. The title rhymes :3 haha.

    And Google’s voice actions aren’t really something that I use on a daily basis, but when I do, it always works almost perfectly. Siri is entertaining, but Google beats it in every other area.

  8. I would use voice actions more if it would simply integrate with Google poducts better – like Google Voice. It’s my ONLY caveat, it will not open Google Voice and send a text. I’ve been using Google Voice since it was called “Grand Central” and android is where it’s at for integration of the program, I easily produce 2k texts per month, if Voice actions would let me select a default program, i’d use it a LOT more often.

  9. OsamaDROIDladdenGuest 3 years ago

    Pannous makes the jeannie app and she does everything SIRI does except geo fencing. I think its smarter than siri.I asked them both y is the sky blue. Siri told me what it was called,but VERONICA…thats what i named her,told me what it was and why it looked blue…she spoke for about 4 or 5 min. I liked it so much i purchased the paid version

    • SEDGuest 3 years ago

      …..which kills me.

      Why NOT do geo fencing? In fact, with Android, we should be able to get Geo AND time fencing.

      For example, “remind me of the groceries I have to buy when I pass the market, but only during their open hours of 9am to 6pm.”

      I can do that with Tasker + Astrid plugin, so I should be able to do it with Pannous as well.

  10. The comments section surprised me today.
    To be honest, I’m totally content with Google Voice, not having a personality. It’s not useful at all, other than to show off to friends – much like the face unlock on my G-nex.

    Anybody who, in their lonesome, asks Siri personal questions is out of their mind. That commercial where the girl is like “I’m locked out” to the iPhone – while its awesome that Siri can (sometimes) decode the message to get her to a locksmith – those are not the kinds of decisions I want my phone to make.
    I am far more comfortable calling the shots, and saying w “navigate to a locksmith” or “websearch locksmith”

    Most of my friends are iPhone users, and almost none of them use Siri the way it’s advertised. In fact, for all the times, it fails they use it less altogether. It also takes so damn long to respond if you ask it complicated questions.

    Anyway, this commercial is biased in its commands, but yes, when you do ask questions the way your supposed to to Google Voice commands, it always works.

    • You realize that the part about having semi-witty conversations with your phone is really just more advertising for Apple, right? When an iSheep shows all their friends how funny it is, Apple just got a captive audience.

  11. I never get why there is a need for me to wanna hold a conversation with my phone, I just want it to work and do what I want it to do…advance technology was suppose to help you do more with less..when it comes to voice action Siri is sorta like a gimmick.

  12. I don’t know about having a conversation with my phone that’s still off-putting for me. I’d welcome a wider selection of more natural voices, like on GPS devices. Whether that’s possible or not I don’t know with all the varied dialogue that’s expected.

  13. Indeed. Siri is very good at conversational operations, while Google can only handle some commands, but still I like how fast and accurate Google Voice Actions is, and its for all devices running Android 2.1 or above!

  14. DavidGuest 3 years ago

    Haha I just did this with my mom’s new 4S a couple weekends ago. My Droid X, pinnacle of 2010 technology that it is, destroyed Apple’s favorite new feature.

  15. SEDGuest 3 years ago

    Siri does a great job selling the iPhone but when I see people actually put it into day-to-day practice, without fail, they essentially do all the things that I have been doing with Google Voice Actions or the built-in microphone icon on the keyboard for 8 months before Siri was even heard from.

    Want to stop a Siri demonstration in its tracks? Ask an iPhone user for their phone for a minute, then say to it, “Siri, I’m having a heart attack! Call me an ambulance!”

    Then, after it ignores your peril and says that from now on it will call you “An Ambulance”, hand it back to them and say, “Yeah, great phone ya got there.”

    • All true but the problem lies in this sentence from the article: “It’s a little ironic that Google (an advertising company) has such a hard time telling its consumers about Android features which are hidden in plain sight.” The features are there. they are usually better than the competition yet they aren’t advertised. I mean look at the siri commercials. It can’t do most of th stuff they show in those commercials in real life. But the showing off gets a momentum and most people thing it’s their way of saying or something that doesn’t work not that siri is at fault.

  16. I hope that Google uses Majel Barret Roddenberry’s voice for majel

  17. It seems even more improved in ICS. My Nexus handles commands much better than my Thunderbolt seemed to be able too.

  18. The Woz prefers Google voice over Siri. It has better voice recognition (for accents and different styles of speech).

  19. The one time I’ve seen Siri used was by a friend who recently started working at Apple, and thus made the switch from Android to iOS (ironically, he’s the one who got me into Android in the first place when he showed off his “brand new” G1).

    It was embarrassing. He kept telling it to navigate to his house, and it failed to recognize his commands *4* times. I laughed, then pulled out my G2x with its crappy GPS while he kept trying to talk to Siri. I couldn’t get GPS lock. So I rebooted, pulled up Navigation, got GPS lock and received turn-by-turn navigation before he could even get Siri to acknowledge him.

  20. Google Voice Actions is fantastic, quick and works accurately. It is a serious program that delivers. SiRi has witty comebacks, who cares.

    It amazes me that iPhone users think Apple invented something new. You try to tell them Android had voice recognition for a long time, they won’t believe you. iPhone users also think Apple invented the pull down notification. Next Apple will start using widgets and iPhone fans will think Apple invented that too.

    • They already think that pull down notifications is the best thing to happen to cell phones and of course it’s invented by apple.

    • Erik JohnsonGuest 3 years ago

      Actually, Windows Mobile has had Voice Command since 2003, which doesn’t even need internet access to recognize commands… I am amazed it took Apple almost a decade to produce a crappy clone of something Microsoft invented…

      Nonetheless, Google Voice Actions is far better than MS Voice Command, which is one on the top reasons why I traded in my windows phone for an android

  21. not a siri fan, doubt I would be using it but I am sure there is a ton of people who love it….

  22. And another point goes to team android.

  23. THIS is what they need to be airing for commercials for their Droid phones not those vague, robotic crap.

  24. Google Voice is good, Siri is cool, Majel will be amazing!

  25. revsGuest 3 years ago

    speak to it assistant is better than both
    like alot better

  26. Two words…Google Actions!!!

  27. yea its hilarious how apple fans act like they got something the world has never seen before. but some of that fault is on the manufactures because my dad has always had an android phone and just figured out that it has the voice feature. but i have a funny screen shot from my bros iphone on my twitter of him asking siri “which is better iphone or android” and siri responds “android” lol @ronweez

  28. Only problem with the android voice actions is that it works better on some phones more than others due to noise cancellation feature. On my evo4g it wasn’t that good. On my evo3d its usable but on a nexus s4g it works great. So at this point if every new android phone came with noise cancel feature then yes this would be a great option. I do like the conversational feature in iphone though but sometimes the commercials just get way to descriptive and just seems stupid. I like conversations like, what is the weather going to be like or where is the closest walmart.. that is the conversations that make sense. Either way I still think that android brings more to the table than ios, its just not all android phones are as smooth as the nexus or galaxy s2.

  29. Absolutely would use it more if it was more conversational. And the previous user hits it, too. Works great on my N1 and Galaxy Nexus. Not so much on my wife’s Touch. Google really needs to emphasize more on usability. I would enlist iPhone users to help refine the usability. If Google can invent something even they can use without instruction + the technology Google offers, Google hits jackpot.

  30. My buddy and I had a race to see who could send a text via dictation fastest. He had the iPhone 4s and I had the Samsung Epic 4G (my phone is already almost 2 years old) and I beat him hands down. Siri is a gimmic. It isn’t all that great and not a selling point to me. Flashy isn’t always the best and this just proves it.

  31. philGuest 3 years ago

    I would use it more if it was faster…

  32. Toby HarroldGuest 3 years ago

    Keep up to date with the latest news about Google’s Awesome Products Here: https://plus.google.com/116335979828166759092

  33. FunspiritGuest 3 years ago

    I am looking forward to Majel. But I can’t keep delaying upgrading my phone forever. I thought majel would be out in April, at least Google is not releasing a “beta” version-
    Btw- here is a column about challenges for Google absorbing motorola.
    http://www.richmakesyourich.com/2012/04/challenge-of-digesting-motorola-for.html
    hope you like.