Cortana v Siri

There's a new voice assistant in town, and it's called Cortana. With the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview today, Cortana is in public hands for the first time. It's new to the Windows Phone kids, but Cortana arrives to competition from not only Siri but also Google Now. So what's the best way to check it out? Why, with a head to head, of course!

Daniel Rubino over at Windows Phone Central has been knee deep in all things Windows Phone 8.1, and has taken the time to put together a quick shootout of the three major voice assistants across the Mobile Nations. So grab a beverage and head on over to Windows Phone Central to check it out!

 
There are 94 comments

DrRD says:

Cortana is an amazing voice assistant, I find that she's the best of them.

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brendilon says:

By far the worst name, and I thought Siri and Google Now were silly names.
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Microsoft named it after the A.I. from the Halo franchise, I think its pretty clever tying in their most beloved video game franchise to their mobile OS A.I., it brings to life what ppl want for the future. Just saying.

Agreed.

Mobius360 says:

Me too actually.

Looks like a good service for Microsoft. I don't know if there phones will ever take off again but I do think they have some great stuff.

I wonder how S-voice, Voice Mate and whatever other brand specific options really compare. I haven't used Voice Mate much on my G2 as I tend to use Google Now. I'm sure it can do some good things though.

Posted via G2 + Nova

n8ter#AC says:

S Voice does decently well. Notes go to S Note.

Calendar comes up as a list and she dictates all of it to you. You can tap on a specific appointment and then she will dictate all the details to you.

She goes straight to websites when you ask her to go to them.

She makes calls using the phone app. Odd that Samsung hasn't integrated ChatOn VoIP/Video Calling/IM with S Voice.

Weather is fine. She can toggle Wi-Fi and stuff like that just fine.

Really, S Voice does much of what all of these do. The main issue with S Voice is that she is slower than the others. I tend to prefer S Voice, Siri, and Cortana-type interfaces to that of Google Search/Now, personally. But Google Search *is* quite fast.

I think S Voice would be better if it did the Voice to Text on device instead of sending the audio file up to the servers for transcription. I'm pretty sure both Cortana and Google do that. Not sure about Siri, though. She was always fast when I had an iPhone 5S, but limited compared to the competing assistance.

I've never used LG's assistant so I cannot comment on its quality or functionality.

Microsoft needs to make Skype usable before they toute it as a competitive advantage. The VoIP and Video Calls on Skype lag quite a bit behind FaceTime [Audio] and ChatOn Voice and Video. Windows Phone does Video in HD, so that may be better on their platform. However the VoIP Voice Quality that I get even from my PC is pretty terrible and to the point that I don't even use Skype anymore (all those wasted credits :-( ).

zackmack7 says:

I knew the name sounded familiar; that's why! thanks. That's a good idea on Microsoft's part

I actually wish Google would give Now a name, or let us tag it with a name so that we could say, "Ok...(insert name)" for a slightly more organic experience.

Hunter Petit says:

+1

Posted from the Google Nexus 7 2012 via Android Central App

jeffkey says:

I was able to train my Moto X to respond to "OK Moto". It works nearly flawlessly.

Huh...I hadn't even considered that!

Posted via my tricked out Moto X.

zackmack7 says:

We can say, "Ok, Jarvis", right? I haven't done it in a while, but it was fun to do

That would be awesome. I do wish Google now could give a few more organic responses as well instead of just searches but I still think it's the best. I was actually surprised at how fast cortana was.

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frettfreak says:

1000% disagree! BEST NAME EVER.. you obviously have never played the halo franchise

hoosiercub says:

The only thing Cortana did best was make a Skype call, which is a native Microsoft service.

Everything else was almost identical between the two, Siri on the other hand... fell far behind many times.

bhatech says:

Exactly I'm not even sure how he came to that conclusion. Google now prediction stuff Cortana can't even match.

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hoosiercub says:

I mean.. the 'Turn Wifi Off' thing Google Now can't do, yet, anyway.. I know there used to be a messages about it's later implementation when you'd ask it to do something like that. That message is gone.

However, I have NFC toggles at work and home/etc for touching my phone to and turning those things off/on.

TenshiNo says:

I believe Google Now's ability to toggle stuff like WiFi became an issue with OEM's making changes to Android "breaking" that functionality. Whether or not that feature is more important that all the predictive stuff Now can do is entirely a personal question.

For me, it's never even occurred to me to try and turn off WiFi or Bluetooth that way, considering I've got big toggle buttons in my notification shade.

Johnny Blake says:

You can turn services on and off with Google Now. I turn Bluetooth on in my car because it's integrated into the system. If I remember after I'm already down the road, to avoid fiddling with my phone I say "okay Google. Turn on Bluetooth." And it works.

Posted from my Motorola Moto G

machzk says:

What´s more Facetime is native to iOS, and SIRI would make a call using it if specified. And if you need to park your car, in iOS you would say "Remind me to.... " and it will create a reminder.

MazoMark says:

Cortana matching Google Now on her first day out of box is actually very impressive. Windows Phone has needed something to match Google Now for some time. Looks like they have it now.

n8ter#AC says:

Cortana Matching Google Now is a testament to how good Bing and Microsoft's Speech Recognition technology is. A lot of people have made a mockery of Bing but all this does it pretty much display that its results are often identical to Google, because that's where a lot of the information these service give you is derived from - search engine integration. To be frank, if Bing was as good as a lot of people make it out to be, Apple would have never used it for Siri in iOS 7.

Also, Microsoft has always had great speech recognition technology and they got to beta test it with hundreds of millions of Windows and Office users. It's very fast and very accurate, as demonstrated in this video. They also do speech to text on-device, which a lot of OEM solutions (S Voice, Voice Mate) do not do putting them at an instant disadvantage (cause query turn around becomes very noticeably long compared to Google, Cortana, Siri).

I actually would give Siri the Navigation test hands down. Not only did she find the nearest Dunken Donuts and launch the Maps app fastest, but she went straight ahead and started Navigating without having to press a button which is the best way to do it especially when someone is behind the wheel. She won that one demonstrably, so I'm not sure why Daniel felt the need to beat around that bush.

Here is a side by side, Cortana isn't even the best of the choices for Windows Phone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch2lF6acjwI

yodatom10 says:

She's no google now.... Let me know when she ties into my PC

She will.

n8ter#AC says:

She will likely do that much better than Google could ever hope to do it, cause Microsoft owns the platform. How are those "Modern" Chrome/Firefox browsers coming along these days?

Zig261 says:

I'm a loyal Google Now fan but this looks very interesting to use. Google better take notes and put some of Crotana's features in the next update.

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Insp_Gadget says:

Actually, if he had installed Google Keep on the Android device, the note would have gone into that instead of creating an email. It would have been a better experience. So while Cortana uses OneNote, Google Now is more flexible.

eahinrichsen says:

Yeah, you can choose which app is associated with the "take a note" command. I've used both Keep and Evernote with it. He probably should've pointed out that capability in the review, but it's not a big deal.

bumpandrun says:

How do you set the app, I can't find that feature?

anthony438 says:

When you first make a note using Google Now, you'll get the typical popup asking you which app to use - just select Google Keep and you're good to go

etnpnys says:

I'm an Android apologist, people, but I wish Google Now had some of the *deeper* integration like Siri for exactly this purpose. Sure, I can say "Note to self: find a new job" in any of them, but only with Siri can you specify which freaking list you want that note to go to.

For example, I can tell Siri "Add apples to my groceries list" and BOOM it adds "Apples" to my "Groceries" list in the Reminders app - it doesn't add it to some general catch-all or anything - it goes to exactly the list I want it to go to. I can then say "Add find a new job to my Talk-to-the-wife list" and it adds that one to the appropriate list.

I would love to have a feature like that. Google doesn't really have a good default list/task manager unfortunately. Until that happens I don't see a voice command for that level of detail coming our way.

bumpandrun says:

Yeah, I was actually trying to make that happen and couldn't figure out how to do it. I know why now!!

bumpandrun says:

That's what I figured it would do but it never asked me. Then I realized my first note was an appointment and it added it to my Business Calendar app (which is my default calendar app). I tried it again with an actual note and it worked. Thanks!!

n8ter#AC says:

Google Now needs to be more configurable out of the box. Waiting for it to ask you things or wait for you to search really makes it just about useless for me. I like Cortana's Notebook metaphor in that you can get more use out of it more quickly because you can set it up at least at a basic level out of the box.

I don't use many Google services, so Google Now would take several months to get to a point where it's genuinely useful, while I could just go into Cortana and input the information she needs to start giving me useful things even if I barely touch my Microsoft account.

Also, Google still doesn't let us remove the persistent weather Notification that Google Now puts in your notification bar, so I have resorted to disabling Google Now and using S Voice due to that. I just hate that Notification. Why must they force that upon us?

Insp_Gadget says:

Persistent weather notification? Not on my Nexus 5. After I swiped it away a few times, it never came back. (I can't remember if I swiped it away or if I long-pressed it and was presented with options for turning it off.)

As for the rest, what isn't Google Now doing for you that you feel you need to configure? Have you given it your home and work addresses? Have you told it what you like? If you don't let it have access to data, you're not going to get much out of it. If you can name something specific that you feel it should be helping you with, perhaps the community can tell you what you need to do to get it to do it for you.

bumpandrun says:

I don't get a weather notification from Google Now and I use it all the time. If Google has the same info about you that Microsoft has you will get just as good, if not better, info from Google Now. Oh, and BTW, you immediately get relevant info from Google Now as soon as you start using it if you use Chrome as your browser. If not, then yeah, you are probably a Microsoft person and would get better info from Cortana, along with more malware since IE makes you install the security updates and Chrome does it for you in the background.

asharrop says:

Yeah you can even use OneNote. I think android wins in that test..

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FortTech101 says:

Out of all the apps Google pre-installs on Android, Google Keep should be one of them.

NexusLogic - Working on his Nexus 7 in the Nexus Lab

Linebarrel86 says:

Cortana is really good. But they each have some improvements to make.

Also, who uses their phones to open apps? Could someone give me an example of when this is useful? Genuine question.

mattjopete says:

When I'm driving I use it to open Pandora all the time.

blackbyrd says:

Yup. Pandora when I'm driving all the time.

Posted via Android Central best phone available: moto x

yodatom10 says:

If you hands are full while driving or mowing a lawn.... or when your hands are covered in dirt Other that that I don't see the practical use of doing it that way.

-zero- says:

I'm sorry, if you're mowing the lawn you will never be able to use a VOICE assistant to do anything over the noise of the mower.

And don't say you can stop it woke speaking to the phone, if you can stop to talk to your phone you can open an app

Totally agree for driving though

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beeglemania says:

Do you have one of those old fashioned motorless push mowers? Because there aint no way my phone is going to hear me while riding on mine.

rayjr13 says:

No but I have a neighbor on my street who does. Hilarious my yard now is smaller than my last so no more riding mower but a self propelled walk behind. I wish I did still have it. I'd go cut his lawn everytime I saw him in the garage pulling out that thing. Its too much comedy this way! But hey he's got me out green'd there.

Evilnut says:

Moto X touchless control. OK Google now; play some music. AWESOME!

Posted via Android Central App from my Ebony backed Moto X

anthony438 says:

I use it to open Google Play while driving - with a N5, as long as the screen is unlocked it'll respond to "OK Google" so I don't even have to take my eyes off the road for a second. Though typically I have it start a specific playlist, instead of just opening the app.

Deke218 says:

Google Now for the win!

onezerofive says:

Google Now, for me. It's capable of so much more than what was shown. It's a hard test to compare though, as they all have commands built differently. I also prefer the google now format in which the resulting data is presented.

rampage1979 says:

That's one thing he didn't demonstrate with Google now always listening feature you don't even need to touch the screen, it can be activated with "Ok google" command from the lock screen even.

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eahinrichsen says:

True, but that feature is only available on the Moto X. Even though the device he used for the comparison is capable of taking commands from the lock screen, it wouldn't be representative of the experience that the vast majority of Android users can expect.

IceBone says:

Not just the Moto X. Any Nexus device, plus others if you root and install a proper rom.

What I'd like to see next in Google Now is more advanced hardware integration, especially the quick settings toggles.

I think he means when the phone is off. Only x can do it stock

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eahinrichsen says:

The capabilities of rooted devices and devices with aftermarket ROMs are never taken into consideration for device comparisons because in the grand scheme, very few people do that. The Moto X is the only stock phone with always-on (including when locked/screen off) voice command capability.

hoosiercub says:

This has actually been planned, just not implemented yet. It used to say when you'd give a hardware command to Google Now that they're not yet implemented. So the capability is definitely there, I just don't think Google has seen a need for it since you can just double finger swipe down and touch to turn off WiFi.

drewgalyen says:

Yeah, that's one of my only gripes with my Moto X is the unusually useless quick toggles. They're just shortcuts to the settings, most of them don't do what I want them to do. Airplane mode works well, at least.

Baleeted says:

From the home screen? I'm able to say "Ok, Google" on my Nexus 7, HTC Sensation, Moto G, S3 and S4 Mini and it opens up Google Now in all the cases.

eahinrichsen says:

We're talking about launching voice commands from the lock screen, not the home screen. The Moto X is the only stock device that can do that.

Geo1035 says:

The droids do it too. stock.

Forgot about those. Same x8 setup

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Jimmy_Jo#AC says:

I can also do that on my completely stock Nexus 5 (no root exploits) it's not only Moto X though I'm unsure exactly how many phones are listening

anthony438 says:

From the lock screen? I'm able to do it from a home screen, but not from the lock screen. How do you enable that?

Use open mic+
It will allow you to use Google now with your lockscreen on, when inside of an app, etc. I love it. My Galaxy Nexus is now a Moto X. :-)

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Evilnut says:

It's good to see more competition, it will just keep pushing Google to make there's even better, it's already the best. It can actually take some pretty complex commands and you can continue to ask questions about what you originally stated and it will continue to give you the answers.

Posted via Android Central App from my Ebony backed Moto X

Where my Geeks at!!! Microsoft chose the name cortana for a reason , its the name of the A.I. in The Halo franchise, how did none catch this. Google now still better

GrooveRite says:

Yo, 343 Industries did a GREAT job with the last Halo! Sadly, my hand eye coordination has been on the decline as I've aged quite a bit. :\

Eion says:

Common knowledge to gamers, not so much to anyone else.

Excellent side by side comparisons.

tx_tuff says:

My wife had an iPhone and likes just playing around with Siri asking if stupid stuff. Yesterday I go with her to Target and after we go in she said forgot to pick up something earlier and now can't remember what it was. I tell her, see if you had an Android phone you can just tell Google Now "next time I'm at Target remind me to get whatever it is". Don't know if anybody users this but it is great. Don't see the others doing this and it is a feature that really helps, unlike "do I need a umbrella today"?

Dirtman16 says:

Yeah, I use this all the time. It reminded me to get ketchup at Publix the other day. Fantastic!

Geo1035 says:

google does this too. i said "remind me to buy ... next time im at Costco" i totally forgot. weeks later at costco i get a reminder. mind blown..not really. just geo-fencing

rayjr13 says:

remind me to put my ring on when I get home, flowers at Publix..etc etc... not marginal; definitely mind-blowing!! :thumbsup: wish they would/could integrate waze and speed traps and such into the thing as seemlessly

gcole says:

I use this feature in Google Now more than any other. Reminders to do something when I get to work, reminders when I get to a specific store, reminders when I get home - love it.

TenshiNo says:

I use the "remind me to 'x' when I get home" *ALL* the time.

HeyImAlexD says:

How did you know about this feature? This is really cool!

n8ter#AC says:

You can do that on iPhone as well. They've had Location-based Reminders since... iOS 5? Right when Siri came out, IIRC.

You need to use Google Keep to get the same functionality on Android devices, unless you use a third party or OEM solution.

Google really needs a proper task/reminders app. Keep doesn't fit the bill, at all, if you have any clue how people use Tasks/Reminders (Priorities, Recurrence, Completion %, Due Dates, etc.).

bossrulez says:

You don't need google keep for location based reminders, and as a matter of fact , google now added recognition of chain stores (like costco, taco bell) so that if you go in any store of that chain, the reminder pops-up.

bumpandrun says:

It was definitely a Windows Phone site review. He said Cortana was faster finding the Duncan donuts and Google was lightning fast compared to the other two. Not only that it gave you choices in case you wanted to go in a different direction. Also, it gives you the map on things like that which is far superior than just listing the sites. Cortana did do some things better (chosen specifically for this test and not given other options such as being able to choose your note app).

anthony438 says:

True, but really more personal preference. He asked for the closest one, and Cortana gave him that. I'd prefer that myself, as it'd be better while driving. YMMV. Though I have to agree on the note-taking - as long as you have Google Keep set up as default, it really does the exact same thing as OneNote.

benurd says:

Ahh! That was so cool. I'll admit that I blindly love Google Now, but Cortana was able to keep up. I'm sure she isn't capable of pulling off some of the back end stalker info like Now, but it seems to be coming along. I want to see it developed more. I think Microsoft may have a young beast in the making.

zero3187 says:

That's my favorite thing about Google Now. Most times I don't need to do a search because Google Now knows it's what I'm looking for.

savemeMDX says:

Odd I recall being able to send a note to Google keep from Google now, apparently it broke, but onenote is working. So if you use onenote, the note to self would win on android as well. That and you can choose the default app for it.
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frettfreak says:

Someone should let this guy know that on android we have toggles... i can turn my wifi on an off faster than i can get into google now and say "turn on wifi"

MazoMark says:

Windows Phone has toggles on their notification screen too.

Synycalwon says:

Yeah, same here with pretty much any task. Don't need no stinking voice assistant, just gets in my way. Besides I'm not comfortable giving Google Now access to what it needs from me to do its thing (privacy violation IMO).

It looks like a Google now skinned voice assistant for Microsoft services - they can't really be compared as each assistant is designed to work with different tools and platforms
Posted via Stock Nexus 4*

bumpandrun says:

Is it possible to use the "ok google" command on an HTC One without being in Google Now?

Cleargrey says:

I think they are all f***ing awesome!!! I think if people weren't so quick to put one down, they may see how amazing we actually have it at the moment. Don't get me wrong, they all have bits that could be better, and I definitely want them to be better. But damn, the voice recognition of all 3 is pretty damn good. The natural language response, compared to just a year ago, is a big improvement. I think Google Now is awesome, but if I had either of the other phones I would be pretty happy and resorting to some more OS specific nit picking.

planoman says:

Cannot wait to update my Lumia tomorrow and take Cortana for a spin!

Sent from my Moto X!

kamiller42 says:

Google Now clearly the winner. It responded to 99% of the requests and provided the best results. When asking for an Indian restaurant, it showed the locations as pinpoints on the map. Others didn't. When navigating to a web site, it showed the actual site, not a minimalist version. When asking for the weather, it provided comprehensive results in minimal color and the option to tap additional internet search results.

savemeMDX says:

Honestly each was designed with different goals. Siri I feel had personality at the top of the list, Google Now focused on the information. Cortana I think wants to merge the two. Of the three Siri has the least potential to grow. This isn't saying siri won't improve, just that it has some catching up to do.
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jlgraham says:

Looks to me like Microsoft has a pretty competitive offering.

Posted via Android Central App on my Moto X