Yesterday, I asked my iPhone: "Where is the closest pizza restaurant?" (It's a conversation we have often.)
As I spoke my question aloud, my words appeared on-screen in near real-time. By the time I got out "Where is the closest piz--," my iPhone guessed correctly that I was after a slice of hot, cheesy goodness.
The second I fell silent -- in less than a second, really -- my iPhone replied, "There are fifteen pizza restaurants nearby," providing me with a map and detailed contact information for each one.
"What's the square root of seven?" I asked.
"2.65," my iPhone said right away, placing the longer answer (2.64575131106) on screen, embedded in a handy calculator.
"What theatres are showing Cloud Atlas?"
"There are five theatres showing that movie. Here's a list of them." That list -- complete with theatre names, addresses, and start times -- popped on screen in what seemed like a blink of an eye.
Everyone with an iPhone knows Siri can answer questions like these. But as of yesterday, Siri has a faster, smarter (though perhaps less personable) sister: Google Advanced Voice Search for iOS, embedded in the iPhone and iPad Google Search app. And let me tell you: Google Advanced Voice Search is faster, smarter, and generally superior to Siri in virtually every way.
On my iPhone, voice transcription is virtually instantaneous and spookily accurate. When Voice Search does miss a word, the rest of my question often provides enough context for the app to spot the error and correct it. Search results -- for movie times and trailers, for restaurants and directions, for time and weather info, for population figures, for virtually anything -- appear almost instantly.
For those of us used to Siri's inaccuracy ("I don't know how to appease a restaurant," she often tells me) and sluggishness (I can't tell you how many times those pinky-purple shaky dots have danced around and come back with nothing), Advanced Voice Search in the Google Search app is like being thrown forward five or six years in time. Google Advanced Voice Search delivers a sleeker, faster, more magical experience than Siri ever has.
The iPhone is now saddled with an admittedly inferior Maps application … and now, Google's Search app delivers a faster, more accurate, and more magical experience than Siri can.
That's two apps, now, where Google's solutions out-Apple Apple's own. What's next?