Google Assistant Outperforms Amazon Alexa In Product Information Search

Voice search and smart speakers continue to grow in adoption rates, but the results of an annual smart speaker study from Loup Ventures shows that Google Home took the winning seat with Apple’s HomePod running a close second.  

Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster and associate Will Thompson explain how the firm asked about 800 questions to the virtual assistants and graded them on whether the question was understood and the response.

Local, Commerce, Navigation, Information, and Command were the five categories for questions. Those questions were fed into Amazon Echo, Google Home Mini, Apple HomePod, and Harman Kardon Invoke.

Google Home understood all the queries and was able to correctly answer 86%. The HomePod correctly answered 75% and only misunderstood three questions.

Amazon Echo correctly answered 73% and misunderstood eight questions. Microsoft’s Cortana, which supports the Harman Kardon Invoke, understood 99.4% of the questions, but could only answer 63% of the questions correctly.

Interestingly, the test found that nearly every misunderstood question had a proper noun, often the name of a local town or restaurant.

Another interesting point, considering Amazon’s strength in ecommerce, the Google Assistant correctly answered more questions about product information and where to buy certain items, rather than Amazon Echo.

“We believe, based on surveying consumers and our experience using digital assistants, that the number of consumers making purchases through voice commands is insignificant,” per Loup Ventures. “We think commerce-related queries are more geared toward product research and local business discovery, and our question set reflects that.”

The findings suggest that Alexa’s ecommerce score can be explained by the information Google and Amazon require for answers to queries. Google Assistant and Alexa answer questions quite differently based on the information and criteria in which they pull. The question “How much would a manicure cost?” on Alexa received the answer “The top search result for manicure is Beurer Electric Manicure & Pedicure Kit. It’s $59 on Amazon. Want to buy it?”

On Google Assistant, that same question received the answer “On average, a basic manicure will cost you about $20. However, special types of manicures like acrylic, gel, shellac, and no-chip range from about $20 to $50 in price, depending on the salon.”

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