Good assistants -- the kind you can't live without -- are hard to come by. For starters, they should always be on time; any lag simply won't do. They should also get things right the first time, because who has time for inaccuracies? And, last of all, the assistant should be so good, they're always a few steps ahead of their boss.
Those are pretty high expectations, but Google and Apple both think they've got the magic to meet all those requirements and more. The secret, it turns out, is to hand off the work to their artificially intelligent virtual assistants: Google Now and Siri.
Though both technologies are relatively young, both of these companies are investing a lot in the idea that your dependency on virtual assistants will continue to grow relative to the amount of time you spend with your phones and tablets. The promise, it seems, is that these virtual assistants will be your go-to destination upon unlocking your phone -- phone calls, Web searches, dinner reservations, and even e-mail composition will only be a voice command away.
Siri and Google Now will be so good, eventually, one's greater efficiency might be the reason you choose your next phone. Siri was all the rage when it was first introduced on iOS, and Google Now, leaving everyone eager to try the smart new technology.
I, on the other hand, was instantly curious to see where Google Now's updates placed it in the race with Siri. Are the new updates enough to crush the competition? Does Siri still offer better integration?
There's only one way to find out.
Watch as Siri and Google Now are pitted against each other in a live test. To make it as scientific as possible, both phones were disconnected from their mobile networks and connected to the same Wi-Fi network. With a couple of exceptions, the same question was asked at the exact same moment. And, both are muted so that we weren't distracted by these ladies competing for air time.