Apple's Siri got a lot smarter over the last 9 months

Key Points
  • Apple Siri has gotten smarter over the last 9 months according to data from Loup Ventures.
  • Apple has continued to make investments in AI, hiring an exec away from Google.
  • Siri has a perception problem, however, lots of people think it's much dumber than Alexa and Google Assistant.
Siri says it's getting an upgrade soon, probably in iOS 12.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple's Siri has struggled to seem as smart as voice assistants from Amazon and Google, but new data from Loup Ventures' Gene Munster and Will Thompson suggests that Siri has made large improvements over the last six months.

Munster and Thompson found that Siri correctly answered 74.6 percent of the 800 questions asked during their tests. That was better than Amazon Alexa (72.5 percent) and Microsoft Cortana (63.4 percent), but still behind Google Assistant (87.9 percent).

Loup Ventures measured the voice assistants by asking questions across four categories including local information, commerce, navigation and general information. They also measured correct responses to commands. Siri scored lowest of the bunch in the "information" category -- meaning it wasn't able to answer general questions as correctly, such as "Who do the Twins play tonight?" That might explain why Siri is perceived as dumber than the other voice assistants.

"Over a 12-month period, Google Home improved by 7 percentage points, Echo by 9 points, Siri (9-month) by 22 points, and Cortana by 7 points in terms of questions answered correctly," Loup Ventures said in its report.

Apple has continued to put a focus on increasing its ability to compete in AI against Google, Amazon and Microsoft. In April, it hired AI exec John Giannandrea from Google, and earlier this week promoted him to Apple's executive team, reporting directly to Tim Cook. Giannandrea might very well help Apple surpass Google.

If that happens, Apple will need to change the perception we have about Siri and find a way to promote that it's getting much smarter. Even now, as the Loup Ventures report suggests, Siri isn't as dumb as people might think, it's just not as good at answering general questions.

Read more on Loup Ventures.

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