Siri catches up with Google in an important respect

It’s public knowledge that, until now, Siri has been lagging way behind its competitors. According to the latest news, however, Apple has recently introduced a novel feature known as “Web Answers”, which is currently being tested in the US, could make the system a lot more useful.

Readers who are familiar with Siri will know that as far as answering specific questions go, Siri is not on a par with its Google equivalent. Sometimes it might provide a direct answer but, more often than not, it will just say “here’s what I found on the web”, followed by a list of websites – leaving the digging up to you.

A while ago, however, Reddit users noticed that Apple had introduced Web Answers to Spotlight Search. Since then, other sources have confirmed this, at least for the US. How it works is that instead of just giving you a list of websites, Siri will actually crawl these sites to find what you are looking for – and then provide you with that information.

Let’s say, for example, that you ask the digital assistant how long it normally takes before a cheque clears. Instead of coming up with a long list of websites, it will find the answer in one of them, and tell you that it takes x days to clear a cheque.

Another example is when you ask Siri “Why do cats meow?” You should get a quote from the ASPCA’s website, and the assistant should also read the information out loud.

Android users will recognise that Web Answers looks quite similar to what Google calls “Knowledge Graphs.” But even if Siri is playing catch-up here, it is still a useful improvement. As we mentioned earlier, the feature currently only seems to work in the US, but keep checking – sooner or later, it will probably come to your neck of the woods.

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