Back in August, when Google announced improvements to its voice search capabilities on Android and iOS, it released a slick little commercial showing all of the answers iPhone users could now expect its Google search app to return to them with a simple touch of a button and a few vibrations of the old vocal chords:
"Watch out, Siri," the commercial seemed to subtextually say. "Here comes a voice assistant for the iPhone that will actually understand you and deliver the answers you expect it to!" (Those two functions, of course, being the two main criticisms of Siri, which many users felt overpromised and underdelivered when it was introduced with the iPhone 4S in 2011).
In the past, we at HuffPostTech have tested several Siri commercials for ourselves, recreating each scene of the advertisements here at our offices in order to test their claims in real life and cutting together a quick video to show you the results. Can Siri really call you a rock god? (No). Inform Zooey Deschanel whether or not it is raining outside? (Yes). Tell John Malkovich a joke that will make him laugh from the very bottom of his soul? (Sort of).
Having thoroughly put Siri through her paces (with mostly positive results), then, we decided to give Google's refreshed and improved voice search application, which landed in the App Store this past October, a little trial. Below, you can check out the outcome.
A few notes on filming:
- We're using an iPhone 4S, about 10 months old.
- The phone is connected to our trusty AOL office Wi-Fi.
- We only ask each question once and use the video of the first take -- when it comes to voice search, you don't want to have to repeat yourself, so we don't.
- I tried to speak with the same neutral accent as the family in the video, preparing for a vacation to Cape Cod (way to relate to the blue-collar family, Google!).
- I drank a cup of hot tea before filming, so that my voice -- which someone who works for the New York Times once called "Pavarotti-esque" -- would come in clear on the iPhone's microphone.
- Wardrobe by Kmart.
And now, without further ado: Google's Voice Search for iOS Commercial gets put to the test. Press play to find out how Google performed...
As you can see on the video, we were able to replicate all but one of the voice searches shown in Google's original ad; after filming, we tried the mechanic query several more times but were unable to bring up local listings on any of our attempts. Overall, however, Google's voice search impressed me with its speed, both in finding an answer and transcribing the words I was speaking. It's almost startling how quickly your words appear on the screen after they leave your mouth, in fact.
Now if only there were some way to access that voice search straight from the home screen, without having to open up an app. I wonder if some other phone, with some other operating system, offers that function?
You can try out Google's voice search for iPhone yourself by downloading the Google app in the App Store right here.