Good news for anyone with an Android phone that isn’t a Pixel: Google Assistant is rolling out to more phones, new and old. That means many more of us will be able to take advantage of Google’s latest and smartest AI. There are some things both the Google Assistant and Siri are excellent at — like pulling up emails or showing photos you’ve taken in the last week in a specific city (Apple really seems to be catching up to Google in the image analysis department).
Image: David Nield/Gizmodo
But there are some things Google just does better. So stop with the Apple envy and read about some of the key areas where Google Assistant has the edge over Apple’s own digital AI.
1) Getting instant answers from the web
on the dubious side
Siri, in contrast, gave us a list of movies (not including La La Land) for the answer to the first question, and listed the results of a Bing search for the second (which, to be fair, included Agatha Christie in the snippet previews). Obviously Siri gets a lot of questions right too, but Google Assistant seems to be ahead here.
2) Finding places nearby
Over on Siri the results list is more difficult to parse and appears to cast a wider net. Your mileage may vary depending on your location and the data these apps have to work with, but where we’re from Google Assistant is currently more useful.
3) Remembering what you’ve already said
it wasn’t always as smart as we would have liked
Where Google Assistant still has the edge is remembering stuff about you (predictably enough for a Google service). Tell the Google Assistant your favourite soccer team, and it remembers that information; Siri just lists soccer fixtures. It’s not a huge feature, but now you don’t have to out yourself as a Manchester United fan at the bar, and instead can just ask “how did my favourite team do?”
4) Speaking in foreign languages
Siri simply searches Wolfram Alpha for a translation, so it doesn’t really work for phrases and you don’t get the added bonus of hearing the pronunciation. If you’re a long way from home and need to find a bathroom, then Google Assistant is far more helpful (provided you have a decent data plan).
5) Going beyond being an assistant
It’s perhaps a sign of Google’s ambition for its new Assistant app, as a whole new interface for the web and your phone rather than just an add-on. It’s also fair to say it’s still more rough around the edges than Siri is, but Apple’s got its work cut out if it wants to keep pace with what Google’s doing.