Stone Temple Consulting analyzed data from 3086 different queries to find out which gives the best answers between Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana. The findings were recently published as a comprehensive study on Stone Temple’s website.
The study was not conducted with random queries, a particular set of queries were picked out based on what Stone Temple believed would be likely to trigger a knowledge panel. A knowledge panel was defined in this study as content displayed in search results that’s meant to provide a direct answer to a query.
The queries were conducted with voice searches on all platforms to avoid discrepancies caused by certain text commands in Google and Bing that change the behavior of a search.
Results Of The Study
Stone Temple’s study found Google Now returns twice as many knowledge panel results as Siri, and almost three times as many compared to Cortana. The evidence suggests that Google is much further along in its ability to return direct answers than either Siri or Cortana.
Google’s responses were also found to be more useful. 88% of Google’s answers completely satisfied the query, compared to 53% for Siri and 40% for Cortana. However, most were found to be helpful at least to some degree.
There were some interesting Google-specific findings. It was found that Google often does not credit the source of answers that contain well established facts, such as state capitals.
You won’t have to worry about Google’s answers stealing traffic if you publish detailed how-to guides with step-by-step instructions. It was found that 79% of Google’s direct answers did not provide a full set of instructions when asked for them.
This data is accurate as of October 4, 2014, with the conclusion being that Google has a commanding lead in both returning direct answers, and returning answers that completely satisfy a query.