Tests performed on Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, find that the service turns to Google for answers in iOS 6 about half as much as it did in iOS 5.
When investment firm Piper Jaffray initially tested Siri in June, its list of common queries found that Google was responsible for about 60 percent of the data returned. Now, with iOS 6, Google is responsible for only 30 percent of the data.
“The biggest change in query resolution to Google was the removal of Google Maps in iOS 6, as 23% of queries resolved to Apple Maps,” wrote analyst Gene Munster. “Yelp and Yahoo! also benefited slightly. Net-net we view this as a slight negative for consumers on Apple products as we view Apple Maps as an inferior product to Google Maps.”
There is also evidence of slight improvements behind the scenes in Siri. In iOS 5, when speaking queries in a quiet environment, Siri understood 89% of the time. In iOS 6, that improved to 91%. 76% of queries were answered correctly in iOS 5, and that improved to 77% with iOS 6.
Piper Jaffray also included Google’s own voice-driven assistant, “Google Now,” in comparison tests with Siri. It was found that Siri had a slight advantage over Google’s service.
“It appears the two voice assistants are comparable to one another in terms of understanding the spoken query and returning the correct result,” Munster wrote. “In our test, Siri correctly understood our queries 91% of the time in a quiet environment compared to Google Now at 88%. In terms of accuracy, we determined that Siri accurately answered understood queries 77% of the time compared to 75% for Google now.”
Munster remarked that Siri’s greatest strengths are in local search and operating-system-level commands. Google Now, meanwhile, has its strengths in navigation and fetching information.