Apple launched Siri with the iPhone 4s in October 2011. While the original demo of Siri blew a lot of people away, the end product was not that impressive. Almost a decade later and despite some major updates from Apple, Siri continues to lag behind its competition. Among other things, Siri’s speech transcription is not as good as that of Google.
Siri is already behind Google Assistant in terms of language support for voice transcription. It works best with English, though it will still struggle with a heavily accented voice. On the other hand, Google Assistant supports a variety of languages for voice transcription and it is also notably faster in speech-to-text. Just how fast? Watch the video below.
I don't think that people appreciate how different the voice to text experience on a Pixel is from an iPhone. So here is a little head to head example. The Pixel is so responsive it feels like it is reading my mind! pic.twitter.com/zmxTKxL3LB
— James Cham ✍🏻 (@jamescham) May 27, 2020
In the above video, James Cham compared the voice to text experience and speed of Google Assistant on the Google Pixel and Siri on the iPhone. The Pixel clearly seems to be in a league of its own as it is noticeably faster than Siri in the voice transcription. It was also extremely accurate unlike Siri. The difference might not seem that much, but in real-life usage, this has a major impact when one is using voice-to-text. One thing to note is that on Pixel, the voice transcription happens on-device which is why it is so fast compared to Siri. Apple offers on-device speech recognition for some languages, but the framework itself also relies on its servers for speech recognition.
The usage of voice-to-text is only going to increase in the coming years which means that Apple needs to catch up to the competition fast in this regard. The experience is important as a lot of use cases in the future are going to rely on this. The poor Siri experience can also be blamed for the HomePod not doing well in the smart speaker market despite offering impressive sound quality. Thankfully, Apple has made a number of startup acquisitions in recent times which should help it improve Siri.