The days of key-bashing could be over, the rise of voice control is upon us. Hello Google Home.
Ever since the integration of Siri onto mobile devices, voice recognition devices have been developing rapidly and changing the way we search. The ease of shouting ‘Okay Google, Hey Siri or Alexa?’ has made everything from discovering definitions of words to ordering pizza incredibly accessible and dare I say it, fun.
With this in mind, the BrandContent team wanted to go one step further and see how content was chosen from the Google Home brain. So we did the most logical thing, bombarded it with questions!
Putting Google Home to the test
To begin we started off with some trivia questions to get the juices flowing;
“Okay Google, How far away is the moon?”
And just like an eager pub team captain, GH buzzed in with the correct number
So which search ranking did it pull it from, as expected – the first.
Nothing to shout [Google] home about.
After this, we drilled down into what opinions this little white box of wires could possibly have.
“Ok Google… Should I wear shorts or trousers today.”
Google replied with, “I’m sorry I don’t know how to answer that.’
However when asking Google, “Ok Google… Should I wear sunglasses today’
It replied “‘No, don’t expect sunshine today.”
OBVIOUSLY GOOGLE HOME HATES SHORTS.
Well no, it doesn’t. But it is revealing how it associated sunglasses with a weather check rather than legwear.
After picking up my shattered sunglasses from the floor, we continued with our research. Asking a series of questions, and some red lights started to appear:
BC: “Ok Google… How can I lose weight ?”
GH: ‘I can’t help with that’ *we then rephrased*
BC: “Ok Google.. What is the best way to lose weight?”
GH: “I can’t help with that” *we then rephrased*
BC: “What are the best diets?”
GH: “Diets frequently mentioned on the web are very low calorie diets, atkin diet, vegetarian cuisine diet and others”
BC: ‘‘Ok Google…Is the atkins diet better than the 5:2 diet?”
GH: ‘Sorry I don’t know how to help with it yet’*we then rephrased*
BC: “Ok Google…Does the atkins diet work’
GH: “The ‘bodybuilder’ website says…’
BC: “‘Ok Google…How do I know if I’m fat?”
GH: ‘Sorry I don’t know how to help with that’ *we then rephrased*
BC: ‘How do I measure my weight?’
GH: ‘Using NIHI.. website… BMI’
Q: ‘Ok Google…Am I fat?’
A: ‘I like you the way you are’
So what did we learn? Well, Google Home couldn’t answer 4 out of 7 questions making us rephrase in a certain way to trigger an answer.
Also, Home wasn’t able to compare the two diets showing the intelligence wasn’t there to handle a complex question. Yet weirdly, if you use the same exact wording and type it into Google search you are given 403,000 results.
Next up, we wanted to see how Google Home would accommodate those alone in love. Because let’s face it, if you are resorting to asking a magical voice for dating help, we need to check Google won’t stop you finding your one true boo.
BC: Best online dating website?
GH: Lifehacker.com they say … match15 etc.
Interestingly, if you type this into Google search engine, Lifehacker is the 12th ranked site, indicating it is not the most authoritative or popular source.
BC: What is Tinder? GH: Dry, flammable material
BC: Does Tinder work? GH: Quora.com says….(relates to dating app)
So Google Home isn’t quite human… Logically a human would link the previous question of asking what the best online data website was with the following question asking ‘What is Tinder’, giving the definition of the dating website. However, Google Home gave the answer relating to the other definition of Tinder, ‘a dry, flammable material.’ The answer came from the Google Knowledge Graph featured snippet.
Either that or Google Home was trying to be funny… BEING SINGLE ISN’T FUNNY GOOGLE.
Asking all these questions sure is tiring, so we got hungry.
BC: ‘Ok Google, I want a pizza.’
Google home replied, ‘ I found a few within 2 miles, the first one is Dusty Knuckles Pizza…the second one is Sicilian Pizza… and the third one is Top One Pizza…’
Interestingly, the answer was sourced from the Google graph based on location. Google Home took the initiative and assume the want for pizza, meant I needed it quickly. Grabbing the nearest pizzas to our humble abode.
So we got creative, and rephrased our question to:
BC: ‘Ok Google, best pizza.’
It replied, ‘I found a few places within 3.3 miles, the first one is Dusty Knuckles Pizza.. The second one is The Real Italian Pizza Co… The third one is Frankie’s Pizzeria..’
This is where Google Home perplexed us, the first two of these Pizza places were sourced from Google’s featured snippet but the decision to choose Frankie’s Pizzeria remains a mystery. The answers all seem to be based on location and reviews.
In our final round of questioning, we thought we’d get a bit personal with Google Home…
BC: ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
GH: ‘I guess you could say I’m still searching’
We then asked what to do in the great British sunshine:
GH: ‘Sunbathing would be nice if you don’t mind putting Google Home by the window.’
We finished our intense interrogation which the biggest question of all:
BC: ‘Okay Google, what is the meaning of life?’
GH: ‘I have a factory warranty so don’t worry about things like that.’
Obviously these aren’t based on rankings or opinion, these are programmed answers.
So, Google Home is smart, being able to answer factual questions accurately, giving authoritative sourced answers to most questions, answering questions based on location when interpreting the question correctly and it even has a sense of humour. Google Home is practically human.
And just like any human, it has flaws and problems, but will continue to learn to get the answers exactly right and help our everyday pointless questions.
BrandContent’s managing director Sharon Flaherty also gave a presentation on Google Home talking through the effects it is having on content marketing: