Apple's Siri Voice Assistant 'Fails One Third Of The Time' Study Claims

Apple's Siri Voice Assistant 'Fails One Third Of The Time'

It's an open issue whether Apple's voice assistant Siri has gained mainstream adoption.

The fact that Google has built a very Siri-like voice search feature into Android 4.1 - and several other manufacturers have made similar moves - seems to suggest it has.

But then, in our experience, Siri is also one of those things that new iPhone users show off to their friends before gradually forgeting to use.

And according to a new study, there may be a reason for that: one analyst has claimed that Siri only understands your queries around eight times in 10 - and only gives a correct answer for two out of three questions.

That's right - Siri fails one third of the time.

The study was carried out by Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who is a much-cited Apple analyst who has also been heavily criticised in the past for providing confusing or inaccurate data, and for constantly predicting the advent of an Apple TV set without much evidence.

However, in this case, Munster's study is at least anecdotally interesting evidence that Siri isn't all she's cracked up to be.

Munster said that in a noisy street Siri understands questions 83% of the time (out of 800 inquiries) and 89% in a quiet room.

The voice assistant only responds correctly 62% of the time on the street, Munster claimed - and 68% in quiet conditions.

Some of the sample errors included:

  • How do I get from Boston to New York? Responded I can only give directions from your current location. I cant give you directions to a place you are not in.
  • When is the next Haley's comment? Responded "You have no meetings matching Haley's"
  • Where is Elvis buried? Responded I can't answer that for you. It thought the persons name was Elvis Buried.
  • Where am I? Pin dropped in the wrong place.

Munster said he expects the service to improve, but that it must reduce its reliance on Google to do so.

"In order to become a viable mobile search alternative Siri must match or surpass Google's accuracy of B+ and move from a grade D to a B or higher," he said.


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