Google Assistant Is Better At Understanding Medications Than Alexa, Siri

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Google Assistant may not have a superior name to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, and it may not have dominant market share like Alexa, but Assistant is superior to them in understanding medications.

A new study conducted in the Nature Digital Medicine journal discovered that Google’s voice command assistant understands 92-percent of brand name medicines and 84-percent of generic medicines, compared to Alexa’s 55-percent brand name and 46-percent generic name recognition, and Siri’s 58-percent and 51-percent respectively.

Yan Fossat, principal investigator in the study and the Klick Health Lab head, and Adam Palanica, a behavioral scientist at the University of Waterloo, spearheaded the study. Fossat and Palanica tested out these three AIs between the last half of 2018 and mid-January, playing 46 audio clips with the words “Tell me about,” while waiting for the voice command assistant to identify the medication.

“We reviewed all the literature, and identified this one area of medication comprehension that is under studied. It’s especially important to research these voice assistant tools, given the growing demand for them in health care,” Fossat said in an interview with CNBC.


Voice command assistants, known formally as artificial intelligence (or AI), are becoming popular in the mobile sector. Once restricted to smart speakers, they’re now making their way to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and even smart TVs. With their current lineup of capabilities, voice command assistants are able to do much, from book flights and hotel rooms to order food and movie/concert tickets.

With wearables featuring them, and wearables taking off in the health sector, it was only a matter of time before voice commands would take off, too. Google’s Google Assistant beat Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri with understanding brand name and generic medications, but it is also better at answering questions correctly, according to a study conducted by research firm Loup Ventures.

The study tested Google Assistant with 800 questions in five categories and found that Google Assistant understood them all and answered 85% correctly, which is seven percentage points more than Apple’s Siri. In 2017, it was discovered that Google Assistant has an IQ comparable to a six-year-old child, beating out its AI competition by ten IQ points.

Google Assistant’s performance over Amazon Alexa is interesting considering that Alexa has 56,750 skills as compared to Assistant’s 4,253 in the United States. Some of Google Assistant’s skills consist of cooking rice with Instant Pot Support, singing the “Happy Birthday” song, chatting with eBay, setting wake-up alarms, watering the lawn, and interpreting spoken foreign languages in real time. And yet, despite its “lacking” skills set, Assistant is available on ten times more devices than Amazon Alexa.


Google Assistant is not only top-performing in the consumer sector, but it is a wanted AI in the business sector as well. According to a Pindrop study, 78-percent of IT decision makers had Google’s Assistant or Microsoft’s Cortana as their AI of choice in the next year for customer interaction in their businesses. Amazon’s Alexa came in next with 77-percent of IT business priority.

Google Assistant arrived onto the mobile scene as a female voice only, though now Assistant has both male and female voice preferences. Google’s AI just arrived on Google Maps earlier this year and Samsung has committed itself to integrate both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in all its 2019 Smart TVs.