On Comparing Siri and Alexa

May 27, 2016 08:58 EST • Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé • 2 minute read • Permalink

Graham Spencer, writing for MacStories, published a link post regarding Rene Ritchie’s Siri vs. Alexa story.

Being French Canadian, I love that Siri can “understand” me but she so rarely gets it right that it’s more of a hassle than anything else. I do have a French accent albeit not that strong of an accent. I did a test of Siri yesterday, in English, in my car with the windows closed. I was with my kids and we were taking turns in choosing the next song to be played on Apple Music.

We asked for 10 songs. For 2 of them, I had to stop the car and type it in the Music app. For 2 of them, it took literrally 6 tries (I persevered!) and I had to sound like a robot to make it work as well as lean over (my phone was on a magnetic air vent mount). For 3 others songs I had to try twice and for 3 songs, Siri got it right the first time.

Now, I know this is not very scientific, but it is consistent with my experience. So much that my wife laughs at me and does the same thing, in 2 seconds, on her iPhone with her thumbs… Its the same thing on the Apple TV, my kids are constantly asking for the Pop Top 20 in French, but keep having to repeat and I hear too often “Siri, are you dumb!? I just want the TOP… 20… POP SONGSsssss”.

I love that Siri can do as many languages as it can, but I would trade that for an English only device that works as well as the Amazon Echo in a jiffy.

It really feels like the roles are reversed here, usually Apple is late to the game and introduces something polished, functional and super integrated. Now Siri, seems so limited 5 years after her introduction and competition is so far ahead that many are wondering if Apple could catch up this year.

I sincerly hope so!