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Google Now vs Siri comparison: which personal assistant is better?

siri vs google now
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Apple announced its new iPhones in San Francisco on September 9 and outlined, among many other things, new improvements to its digital assistant, Siri. But how will it hold up against the Google Now on Tap features that are coming with Android Marshmallow? Read our Google Now vs Siri comparison to see which digital assistant will have the best features when the next big OS updates land.

Which is better: Siri (above) or Google Now? / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Now vs Siri: What's new?

When we first saw Google Now on Tap, we thought it was the best feature introduced with Android M. Google Now on Tap draws on Google Now's understanding of more than 100 million different contexts, as well as the unmatched Google Knowledge Graph, and can be used on any app or website on your phone.

Google Now on Tap

Google Now on Tap will work not as a separate app, but as a small slide-up overlay over whatever screen you're on, using the information from that screen to anticipate what you might want to ask it.

For example, if you're reading an email that mentions a restaurant, Google Now can bring up options to call the restaurant straight away or make a booking.

Better still, if you're listening to a song on your music player, you can ask questions like "what's his last album?" or "what's her real name?" and Google Now will know who you're talking about based on what is happening on screen. It has revolutionary potential.

androidpit google now on tap
Google Now on Tap is a great evolution from Google Now. It uses information displayed on screen to assist you in your queries. / © Google


Siri is also focusing on context-sensitive features, with Apple using buzzwords like 'proactive assistant' and 'intelligence' to describe the updates. If you receive a text message, you can just ask Siri to remind you about it later, for example, or you can save event invites from your emails directly into your calendar.

Moreover, Siri will recognize your location, so when you get into the car it might switch your music player to an audiobook of your choosing, or put on a high-energy playlist when you're at the gym. Siri's improvements are bolstered by a new API for its search bar, which can now integrate with apps and bring up results from within apps directly on the iOS home screen.

androidpit ios 9 wwdc
In iOS 9, Siri will be able to make suggestions for apps and contacts, based on information in your texts, e-mails, and so on. / © Apple

Always listening

In the past, Siri could only be called upon when holding down the home button, when raising the phone to your mouth, or when your iPhone was plugged in. In iOS 9, Siri will be 'always listening' meaning that you can say "Hey Siri" at any time to activate it. 

It is possible to configure Google Now to act in the same way.

apple iphone 6 siri
As of iOS 9, Siri will have 'always-on' voice activation. / © ANDROIDPIT

Apple TV

Siri is primed for use with the new version of Apple TV, arriving in October, and you will now be able to search for TV shows and movies based on genre, release date, or even the cast. The example shown in Apple's latest event was a search for James Bond movies, but only those featuring Sean Connery, using voice commands. 

When watching a TV show or movie you will also be able to ask: "what did she say?" and Siri will rewind the video 15 seconds before playing that section back with subtitles on. It is also possible to pinpoint a particular episode of a show by saying something like: "Show me that Modern Family episode with Edward Norton." Clever.

Google Now vs Siri: Speed and accuracy

At WWDC 2015, it was revealed that Siri has a word error rate of a mere five percent, which is "an industry-leading number,'' according to Apple Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi. Of course, we should take such marketing spiel with a pinch of salt and look more closely at real-world tests on the voice assistant tools.

androidpit google now card teaser
Different tests yield different results, but Google Now appears to have the accuracy edge for now. / © ANDROIDPIT

A test by Russian Mac site found that Siri came out on top when it came to different languages. When asked 18 questions, Siri was more accurate than Google Now in English, French, German and Mandarin.

However, other tests have found that Google Now's answers have been more accurate than Siri's. In July 2014, Piper Jaffray Analyst Gene Munster said that Google Now had overtaken Siri for accuracy, getting 86 percent of questions right, while Siri correctly answered 84 percent.

Siri, however, has been praised for retrieving results faster than Google Now, even if they are marginally less accurate. So we have a voice recognition/accuracy/speed triangle with which to make our assessments.

Both Android Marshmallow and iOS 9 will mark a major new milestone for both personal assistants, so expect the results to change significantly when the new OS updates are released.

Google Now vs Siri: Interface

Both Google Now and Siri are easily accessible no matter what screen you're on. In both cases, you just hold the home button on your devices to get a full-screen overlay showing the respective personal assistant. Once you're on that screen, you simply ask your question and (hopefully) get a quick response.

androidpit now vs siri
Both Google Now and Siri interfaces give you instant info about your queries. / © Google, Apple

But in iOS 9 and Android Marshmallow, Siri and Google Now will be more integrated into their respective operating systems, in a way that'll make them more ubiquitous yet less visible. With Siri, for example, you'll have suggestions appearing on your homescreens for contacts you might want to call, based on the fact that that person arranged a meeting with you that day by text or email.

Thanks to Google Now on Tap, Google Now will feel less like a separate app, and more like an integrated assistant that's there to help you with whatever you need at that moment. It will mainly work as a small overlay at the bottom of your display and will understand what you want to ask it based on what's on screen. It'll be less intrusive, and more useful.

androidpit google now vs siri 2
Google Now on Tap and Siri's new Proactive Assistant feature set will make the tools more integrated in Android Marshmallow and iOS 9, respectively. / © ANDROIDPIT


With major updates inbound for both Google Now and Siri, the conclusion for our Google Now vs Siri comparison remains a bit... inconclusive. Both personal assistant tools are still very much works in progress, but both already yield impressive results. Google Now seems to have the edge in accuracy, but Siri beats it on speed.

It's clear that neither Apple not Google want Siri and Google Now to feel like cool extra features, but integral and crucial parts of their respective operating systems. Android Marshmallow and iOS 9 will be big steps forward for both personal assistant tools, and we're excited to go back and compare them when their next big updates land.

But, for the sake of a satisfying conclusion, we're predicting that Google Now on Tap will have the edge over Siri. Where Siri is taking steps to being more like Google Now, Google Now is introducing a feature that could be a huge step towards obtaining information as and when we want it. Who knows, that feature might debut at WWDC 2016...

Do you prefer Google Now or Siri? What particular feature gives it the edge? Let us know in the comments.

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Robert Zak

Robert Zak
UK Editor

A tech aficionado since he first picked up a NES controller, Robert has written about technology, videogames, and film across a range of sites and magazines, including Den of Geek, Gamasutra, and Computeractive. At AndroidPIT, he'll be bringing you the latest Android news and reviews from the front line in the UK.

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  • JoAnn Beverly 1
    JoAnn Beverly Apr 21, 2016 Link to comment

    I used both Siri and Google Now. I have to say the better of the two is obviously Google. When I had the Apple phone I stopped using Siri and went straight to Google.

  • 1
    steven lakes Feb 2, 2016 Link to comment

    siri is much better! does google make jokes?

    • Eric istooop 2
      Eric istooop Feb 28, 2016 Link to comment

      Yes it does. try it. Plus if you are using your voice assistant just to make jokes, you must be really bored or lonely.

      Gabriel Leung

  • 2
    Everlight Mfg. Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

    yes, google is better

    Gabriel Leung

  • 31
    Deactivated Account Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

    moto X has hardware for always on voice interaction, definitely improves the experience, personally I'm looking forward to complete command of my phone and all its applications by voice.

    Gabriel Leung

  • Junaid Qureshi 17
    Junaid Qureshi Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

    Google now is better than Siri

    Gabriel LeungGobinath

  • 16
    Viktor jovanović viki Aug 25, 2015 Link to comment

    I,v reed abouth Siri again, buth I stell think that Google Naw is better opcion iven the Naw on tap will be able litlle later, with Marshmellow...

    • Mehul Pandita 10
      Mehul Pandita Sep 24, 2015 Link to comment

      You need to teach me English bro!!

    • Ariana De Sousa 1
      Ariana De Sousa Jan 31, 2016 Link to comment

      What are u, 5? Learn how to spell please!

  • David Dave 11
    David Dave Jun 11, 2015 Link to comment

    But at least Apple doesn't track you using their services...

    • 10
      Moussa Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

      how do you know that Apple doesn't do that?

  • 6
    Tyler Jun 10, 2015 Link to comment

    I have had both an iPhone and an android phone and hands down google now is better. when I had an iPhone I never even used siri because I found it pretty useless but now that I have the note 4 I find myself using Google now all the time. I'm so excited for Google now on tap. it just seems like such a great step forward.

    Gabriel LeungLawrence Wallen

    • 1
      steven lakes Feb 2, 2016 Link to comment

      Tyler how can you correctly judge if you never used siri? you suck! get a non biased opinion you idiot!

      • Gabriel Leung 1
        Gabriel Leung Mar 26, 2016 Link to comment

        I used both Siri and Google Now, and Google is obviously just better, while Apple says theirs is more stable. Of course it's more stable! The features are always the same! Google will always beat 🍎.

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