With Microsoft having recently debuted Cortana, the focus is once again back on voice-based personal assistants. While Google Now doesn’t really have the personality of Cortana or Siri, but because of the Google backend, it is a front-runner when it comes to pure functionality. While it cannot tell you a joke, or what it thinks of the competition, most voice-based queries are handled with aplomb. But here comes the real kicker.
While Apple, after years of fine-tuning, is finally getting Siri to understand the Indian accent with some reliability, Google is fast moving into unchartered territory. A few weeks ago I was pleased to see the Google Now app on iOS pick up Hinglish, and place search results before me. I have been playing with this functionality for a while now, and it seems that Google is improving by the day. Google is able to easily pick up names of songs, movies and most popular phrases. So I thought of a song with a slightly tricky name, and Google was once again up to it.
This is taking things to a whole new level. While we still aren’t at a stage where Google Now can answer more than a few questions in Hinglish/Hindi, but we have reached a stage where it is beginning to at least understand what we’re asking. Google Translate is a great resource, and it won’t be long before Google parses these queries though and starts giving us answers.
Google Now is context aware and can perform automated tasks, while Siri remains a passive assistant. Cortana is nice mixture of both, but Microsoft really has its task cut out in terms of voice recognition and there lies the key to success.
Google with all the locally relevant information like IPL schedules, scores and so on is really the king at this point in time, and this lead is widening. Siri is up for an upgrade come June and iOS 8, and it will be interesting to see what Apple has planned.