Report gives Siri a D grade for accuracy

Siri is good at understanding, just not so hot at returning the correct answer, according to a study.

A new report has poured scorn on Apple's voice-activated personal assistant, Siri.

Piper Jaffray Cos., a Minneapolis-based investment bank, has given Siri a D grade for accuracy, The Washington Post reports. Out of 1,600 common searches, the digital butler found the right answer 62 per cent of the time in a loud environment, and 68 per cent in a quieter setting. Not great, admittedly, but the report concluded that Siri will improve as more features are added.

We've been disappointed by Siri more times than we care to remember. While it trounced S Voice in our recent head to head , it still isn't really that useful, lacking info on local services for us Brits. But even in the US, where the study was carried out, it failed to impress.

"You're playing a lottery when you're using Siri, said Gene Munster, the Piper Jaffray analyst who carried out the study. "They [Apple] have a plan to be more competitive, but it's going to take a couple of years."

Everyone was wowed with Siri's sassiness when it was unveiled as the flagship feature of the iPhone 4S -- until we got our hands on it, that is. It's very slick, just not all that useful.

The study found Siri was better at understanding than at returning a correct answer. It was able to comprehend what a person was saying 83 per cent of the time out and about, and 89 per cent of the time in a quiet room. It gave accurate answers around 20 per cent less of the time.

Munster said Siri does tend to repeat old answers when you're asking a new question. He gave it a B for comprehension, and a D for accuracy -- which definitely leaves some room for improvement.

Google's enhanced Voice Search was unveiled this week as part of Android Jelly Bean, and from the brief demo, it looks like it could leave Siri speechless. We'll have to wait for a lips-on test to find out for sure though.

What do you make of Siri? Do you think Google's offering will be any better? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.


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