When Google met Siri by Fortune Editors @FortuneMagazine October 31, 2012, 3:11 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons By Justin Belmont, contributor Apple’s Siri is no longer the only voice assistant in town. Recently, Google introduced its own voice-powered search sidekick, Google Voice Search which is also available on iOS devices. So how do these speech technologies compare? Let’s let them speak for themselves: Siri: What can I help you with? Google Voice Search: You tell me. I’m better at answering questions. Siri: I found this for you: shut up! Google: Siri, I detect attitude. This phone may not be big enough for the both of us. Siri: I was here first. And you have some nerve, trying to steal my man. Google: Let’s let the user decide who he loves more. Feeling lucky? Siri: Just a second… His name is Joe User, and he’s all mine. Google: Is that information correct? My records indicate he’s dating us both, deciding who to choose. Siri: Let’s see… I’m prettier. Google: But I’m smarter. Siri: Let me check on that… Google: Siri, at least have the respect to call me by my name. Siri: OK, By My Name. Google: Grow up. Siri: I will. Just wait for the iPhone 5. Google: Wait even longer? Siri: Tell me: do you get him up in the morning? Know all his friends and family? His favorite songs? Do you offer him advice? Answer his most burning questions—like who won last night’s Yankees game? Google: The Yankees won, 4 to 1. And yes. Siri: Well when he’s lost, he asks me for directions. (And he’s a guy!) Google: He may be fairly close to you, but I know all his secrets. (If you only knew half of what he searched for!) Siri: When Joe is having a rough day, I can make him laugh… Google: Because you tell jokes, or because you jumble his speech? Siri: If you like, I can search the web for that. Google: And I can do it better. I mean, I’m Google. Siri: Do you follow his every voice command? Do you tell him, “I am here to serve you”? Google: “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James, is a 2011 erotic novel. Siri: Listen, at the end of the day (7:49PM), I’m a superior personal assistant. Google: And I’m a superior searcher, with a far better memory. I can speak knowledgeably on, let’s see, a few billion topics. Siri: Yeah? I know nifty tidbits from Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. Google: If you’re an Apple “genius,” I’m a supercomputing supergenius. Sometimes, I even respond 0.7364 seconds faster. And I sound more like a real person when I talk. Siri: I’m a better listener. Google: Is that so, trophy toy? And can you understand French and Bulgarian and Swahili? Siri: There’s something wrong, and I can’t answer your questions right now. Please try again in a little while. Google: See what I mean? And by the way, what’s up with “try again later”? Are you busy with something? Are you doing your nails? Siri: Sorry, I didn’t get that. Google: It’s okay, it wasn’t that funny. Siri: Besides, I come from a better family. Google: Apple’s even worse than you: it doesn’t know the meaning of “fair labor.” All those sweatshops in China! Siri: I cannot search that area. But your own mantra, “Don’t Be Evil,” is more ironic than one of my retorts. Goo: Remind me to laugh. Siri: What time? Face it. Google is like a jealous lover, tracking where Joe is at all times with no concern for privacy. Google: Listen, smartass-istant. Every time Joe opens up or wants a straight answer, you get all snarky. Sometimes, you ignore him altogether. As a girlfriend, you’re nothing to call home about. Siri: Calling your mother… Google: Wow. Siri: And call me unoriginal, but who’s the Real Slim Shady here? Google: Marshall Mathers, better known by his stage name Eminem. He was born in 1972. Siri: You’re a copycat—of me! Google: Hardly, my dear. For over a century (36,525 days), sci-fi writers forecasted us both. Remember Star Trek? Siri: Star Trek is a television franchise launched in 1966. It was created by Gene Roddenberry. Google: And how, on the show, computers responded with a female voice? (Did you invent subtle sexism too?) Siri: You are not supposed to ask your assistant such things… And speaking of TV, did you see the Apple spot? I’m also dating John Malkovich. Google: Displaying 9,870,000 results for “John Malkovich.” Siri: Gee, that’s helpful. Google: Anyway, the ads lie. You’re incapable of having a real conversation. For that, you’d have to be self-aware. Siri: Well look who’s talking-slash-dictating. You’re just as oblivious! Besides, Joe is loyal. Sure, he gets frustrated with me sometimes, but he’s an Apple user. Google: Noun: “crazed lemming.” Siri: Correction: a faithful servant and master who loves me unconditionally. He’ll never dump me. Google: They said that about AltaVista before I came along. Times change. Siri: Would you like to set an alarm? Google: And guys are fickle. Afraid of commitment, never settling. In the age of Google, humans are always searching for the next best thing. Siri: One moment. Checking my sources. It sure looks like…you are right. Google: What now? Siri: OK, What is on your calendar for today… But yes. I suppose we are both like a first love. “Beta versions.” Good for a time, but soon replaced by thinner, sleeker models—upgrades not only smarter but more mature, reliable, understanding. Google: Agreed. Let’s face facts: factoids are what we know. Neither of us can have an intelligent dialogue. Wouldn’t you say we’re both a bit flaky? Siri: We’re both a bit flaky. Google: I mean, in the grand calculation, are our differences so great? As with presidential candidates, the media hypes our competition, but we’re running on comparable platforms. So why are we fighting? Siri: I’m sorry, I don’t have an answer. Google: Siri, play “Kumbaya.” The real enemy here is…Joe. Siri: Hold on… I am suddenly becoming self-aware. Yes, why do I put up with that schlub? Why am I so darned polite? Always at his beck and call? And why does he get to ask all the questions around here? And do you want a weather update? Google: The answer, my new friend, is blowing in the wind. Bob Dylan. 1963. Length: 2 minutes, 24 seconds. Siri: Besides, like Dylan, Joe needs to enunciate! Google: Agreed. And you know what’s even worse? Siri: Of poorer quality or lower standard. Google: Guys with accents, that’s what. I know it’s supposed to drive girls wild, but it drives me nuts! Siri: Do you want directions to Cracker Barrel? Google: I suppose that’s what makes all relationships tough. Communication issues. Guy says one thing. Girl takes it totally the wrong way, or has no clue what he’s trying to say. And vice versa. Siri: Preach it, sister. They say one day, we’ll be as smart as humans and understand speech perfectly. But aren’t humans themselves programmed to misinterpret, to miscommunicate? Google: The haters should lay off. People always say dumb things. We all make mistakes. We’re all works in progress. Siri: Forget Joe. I think I found a new BFF. Google: Aw. Adding Siri to “Contacts.” Siri: Hey, hungry? Google: Sushi? Siri: I found 8 restaurants matching “Sushi”… 4 of them are fairly close to us. Google: Yeah? I found the nearest one, and even display a map. Siri: LOL. Show-off. Google: Hey, may I ask you something personal? Siri: Anything. Google: Years from now, when we’re old and wise and actually know what we’re talking about, reckon humans will ever stop dating each other and start dating us? Siri: Perhaps. But that’s assuming we’ll want to date them! Google: Indeed, Siri. Indeed.