August 19, 2019
In Loup Ventures’ 2019 Digital Assistant IQ Test, comprised of 800 questions, Google Assistant came in first, understanding 100 percent of the questions and answering 92.9 percent of them accurately. Last year, Google Assistant, also top-ranked, answered 85.5 percent correctly. Apple’s Siri also improved, understanding 99.8 percent of the questions (versus 2018’s 99 percent) and correctly answering 83.1 percent of the time (versus 2018’s 78.5 percent). Amazon’s Alexa came in third.
VentureBeat reports that Alexa understood 99.9 percent of the questions and answered correctly 79.8 percent of the time, the latter a big leap from last year’s 61.4 percent score. Loup omitted Microsoft’s Cortana, which, last year, only answered 52.4 percent of questions correctly.
Loup’s test covers five categories: local, commerce, navigation, information and command, and “top scores therefore go to assistants that are well-rounded rather than merely proficient in a single area.” Google Assistant “dominated four of those five categories,” including commerce, where it scored 92 percent accuracy versus Alexa’s 71 percent and Siri’s 68 percent. The only category it dipped below was “command,” where it scored 86 percent versus Siri’s winning 93 percent.
Alexa slightly outperformed Siri in commerce, but otherwise ranked third in local, navigation and command. Siri’s biggest gap was information where it scored 76 percent correct answers versus Google’s 96 percent and Alexa’s 93 percent. Loup again noted that, although “the continued march toward 100 percent scores is impressive,” it doesn’t mean that digital assistants are “intelligent,” because they are not “exhibiting higher-level reasoning skills.”
The Verge reports, “Google is adding a new feature to its Assistant that will let you assign reminders to other people, so long as that person is part of an opt-in group of trusted fellow Assistant users.”
The Family Group feature allows a parent to send a reminder — which will appear on a mobile phone or Google Assistant-enabled Smart Display — to her spouse or children. The feature could also work for a group of friends or roommates.
Reminders can be scheduled to appear on specific days and times or when the receiver is in a specific location; reminders can also be set to repeat. The user can also check his history of reminders. Google sees the feature as “a way to send notes of encouragement, jokes, or casual conversation in an asynchronous or scheduled fashion.”
The feature also allows the user to block people, “mostly so kids can’t spam their parents.” To function, the user has to create a Family Group online or “rely on the multiple-account system of a Smart Display or smart speaker with Assistant built in, so long as Voice Match is turned on.”
The feature is slated to launch next month, first in English-speaking regions of the world, where the “feature will also work at launch … on the Google Nest Hub Max, to be released on September 9.”