Study: Siri Beats Google Now, Cortana In Performance & Overall Satisfaction

Contrary to some industry perceptions Siri is apparently not the virtual assistant laggard, but the leader. That’s according to a hands-on user study conducted by Expert Exchange.
Siri beat Google (Now) and Cortana in overall user satisfaction and across a number of specific tasks. Amazon Echo was not part of the study.
While the number of people involved in the study isn’t clear from the discussion, here’s the methodology as described by Expert Exchange:
We ran a survey asking participants to perform a list of commands on their smartphones. With these findings, the virtual assistants were ranked based on accuracy (whether or not the virtual assistant properly responded) and satisfaction (how happy users were with the way the virtual assistant performed the command) All participants were randomly selected, users were required to use Cortana, Siri, or Google Now.

Participants asked a variety of factual questions, conducted searches and offered commands to the three virtual assistants. Accuracy was measured and so was

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Milestone: Bing Now Profitable As Windows 10 Success Boosts Usage

Amid the flurry of earnings released yesterday, Microsoft announced a significant milestone: Bing is now profitable. On the earnings call, Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood said “In search, we expect Bing’s strong trajectory to continue, remaining profitable for the remainder of the year.”
According to comScore, Bing’s US market share is 20.7 percent. Microsoft reported yesterday that “search advertising revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs grew 29 percent in constant currency with Bing US market share benefiting from Windows 10 usage.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella remarked on the earnings call that Microsoft saw roughly $1 billion in search ad revenue for the quarter. He added that “Windows 10 users [have asked] Cortana more than 1 billion questions.”
Windows 10 has been the most popular and best-received Microsoft operating system update of the last several cycles. Bing is deeply integrated into Windows 10.
The post Milestone: Bing Now Profitable As Windows 10 Success Boosts Usage appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google Now, Microsoft Cortana & The Predictive Search World: Recap From SMX East

What will you search for next? That’s what Google and Microsoft are trying to figure out with their Now and Cortana products and, with all the data becoming available, they may know before you do. As a marketer, you need to be aware of these developments so you can improve the chances of your brands and products being proactively presented to people before they even know they want them.
That topic — predictive search — was the focus of a session by Cindy Krum, founder and CEO of MobileMoxie, at last week’s SMX East conference in New York City.
Because of Google’s dominance in the data collection and aggregation field throughout its Googleverse, Krum focused chiefly on Google Now, with only a brief mention of Microsoft’s Cortana, the predictive search engine on Microsoft phones.
Her overall premise was that Google Now is attempting to present answers to people before they even think to ask/search for them. The way Google’s reach and

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How Google Now, Siri & Cortana Predict What You Want

Google, Apple and Microsoft all have agents that want to be your personal assistant. But how well Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana can predict your needs depends on how much you want to share, how wedded to particular platforms you want to be and, in some cases, how much you actively want to help make those predictions happen.
Going Under-The-Hood
Ferreting out how these agents work is a challenge. The companies all have pages that describe Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana. But those are generally focused on what they can do, not how exactly they do it.
There are various help and privacy pages, but those aren’t always helpful. Google Now information is, in part, spread out across a page for the Google App for iOS and another area for Android. Cortana has a nice single page on privacy but still lacks specifics on some points. Apple’s privacy page notes that it doesn’t mine mail for ads, but neglects to

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Baidu Upgrades Mobile Virtual Assistant With Local Commerce Services

Baidu has upgraded its mobile virtual assistant to incorporate voice-enabled local transactions. The virtual assistant, powered by artificial intelligence, is now known as “Duer.” That apparently translates as “Du Secretary.”
One translation of the word “du” I saw was “to study, to learn.” Phonetically, it also sounds like the English word “do,” as in to get things done.
Baidu launched its first virtual assistant in 2012 on the heels of Google Now. Baidu has invested heavily in AI research, which is at the core of the new assistant.
What’s new to the end user is the integration of local commerce and the ability to conduct transactions using Duer, such as food ordering and movie-ticket buying. Baidu will further expand these capabilities to a broad range of local “on-demand” services in the near future.
The new Baidu emphasis on local transactions, rather than knowledge retrieval (e.g., Wikipedia searches), was the original vision behind Siri before Apple bought the company.
The connection between speech-enabled

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With Windows 10, Bing Ads Anticipates 10 To 15 Percent More Search Volume By September

With Wednesday’s launch of Windows 10, Bing Ads General Manager David Pann has outlined the benefits advertisers should expect to reap from the ways in which search is woven into the new operating system in a new blog post. Overall, Pann’s message is that Bing Ads advertisers should see lots of opportunity for more search volume as adoption of Windows 10 spreads. Here’s why.
More Volume From New And Current Users
“We’re estimating query volume gains from 10 to 15 percent as early as September — not only from new users, but from existing Bing users who will now use Bing more frequently.”
Because Windows 10 makes search a much more integral aspect of the user experience — and without a doubt, it does — performing regular searches will feel more intuitive. In Windows 10, users don’t have to launch an app or browser to access Bing or Cortana. Instead, they can use a task bar to speak or type Web searches.

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Cortana For Android Available For Download Ahead Of Official Launch

A few days ago, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana became available for download. This is not the official launch and it’s not clear the software is ready for all Android devices. It certainly didn’t function properly on my Nexus tablet.
Several people have already written about it and it appears to be fully functioning for some. I downloaded it onto my Nexus 7 and was able to execute certain functions and commands. However I had difficulty with others. I had planned to do a Cortana vs. Google (Now) comparison post but will have to defer that until later.
I was able to do some but not all types of searches. I successfully set calendar appointments, reminders and got driving directions. But I had surprising difficulty sending email, conducting local searches or getting answers to simple questions such as “how much is the Dollar worth vs. the Euro?”

Many of my queries yielded a blank screen (see above right). Presumably it’s the

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For Task Completion, Cortana Now Integrates More Deeply With Apps

It’s fascinating to consider whether and how “destination search” and virtual assistants will interact in the future. In the case of Microsoft’s assistant Cortana, search is like the “Intel inside.” But Cortana is a much broader and more versatile tool than conventional search.
With Windows 10 Cortana is coming to the PC. Indeed Bing’s Director of Engineering Mike Calcagno sees Cortana as a kind of ambient UI that will be screen-agnostic or screen-independent in the future. Microsoft is betting on Cortana as a differentiator across screens and platforms.
At this week’s Build developer conference Microsoft announced deeper app integration into Cortana. As with Siri and Google, Cortana can launch apps. However Microsoft is also seeking content integration into Cortana so that tasks may be completed in the Cortana UI without necessarily launching the app in question.
Here’s one of the examples Microsoft provides in a blog post:
When integrating with Cortana, an application can choose to get launched or choose to

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