How to use 'Hey, Siri' to control Google Assistant on iPhone

It’s a dirty job but someone wants to do it

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The best way to compare accuracy between Siri and Google Assistant is to use both on one device, and you can do that with your iPhone.

What is OK, Google?

“OK, Google” is the Google Assistant equivalent of “Hey, Siri”— you use it to activate the intelligent assistant in order to get answers to your queries.

The iOS version of Google Assistant was recently updated with the addition of support for Siri Shortcuts, which means you can now create a Siri Shortcut that lets you get help from the Assistant using Siri.

When setting up, you’ll say something like “Hey, Siri; OK, Google” and frame your question.

How to set up a Siri Shortcut to use Google Assistant

On an iPhone running iOS 12 or higher, download and install the latest version of Google Assistant to your iPhone. Then check for updates on the off-chance Assistant has been updated.

Once installed, follow these steps:

  • Open Google Assistant on your device, and tap the button at the bottom right.
  • You will be asked if you want to add "OK, Google" to Siri.
  • Tap Add to Siri and record your phrase, “OK, Google,” for example, though you can use whatever phrase you like, even one like, “For the good of humanity, we must resist surveillance capitalism,” if you wish. Just make sure it’s a phrase you will remember.

Once record your phrase, you’ll be able to use it to use Siri to use Google Assistant.

Make easy Siri shortcuts for Google talents

This goes a little further. You see, you can create Shortcuts for requests you make using Siri/Assistant after you have made them once. Here is how to do this:

  • Create the “Hey, Siri; OK, Google” Shortcut as above.
  • Use that Shortcut to invoke a request, for example, “Switch on the hallway light” (if your home automation system is controlled by Google Assistant, of course).
  • Next, open Settings>Siri & Search on your iPhone.
  • You will see a list of Suggested Shortcuts and the phrase "All Shortcuts."
  • Tap All Shortcuts if your "switch on the light" instruction is not listed here. It should now exist as an available Shortcut in the Google Assistant section.
  • Tap the Plus sign to the right of that Shortcut, and you’ll be asked to record a Siri voice command.

In the future, you’ll be able to use that command to invoke Siri to summon Google to switch of your Google Assistant-controlled lights.

Though I’d still argue that a HomeKit system will be better and more secure.

This works for any command you regularly ask Siri to ask Google to make for you. That’s useful, as it means you can create elegant spoken commands to make all these technologies work together.

Who is this for?

Most people recognize that I try to avoid using Google because I am reluctant to share anything I do with what I see as the world’s biggest surveillance and advertising firm.

With that in mind, I’m not about to recommend every Apple user start using this solution just because it exists. I think it will most benefit those who live in mixed platform networks, be that at home or in the office.

I also expect people who are migrating from Android may want to maintain a short connection with their old assistant. It may also be useful to people in homes and offices that rely on older smart home equipment that is incompatible with Apple HomeKit.

Which is more accurate: Siri or Google Assistant?

While it seems fashionable to blast Siri for being inaccurate, I don’t believe the criticism is at all fair.

A 2018 Loup Ventures survey declared Assistant to be 85% accurate to Siri’s 78.5%, but this was before Apple introduced iOS 12, which we know added new search domains to Apple’s assistant. It will be interesting to see how this improves when that survey is repeated later this year, though iOS 13 will ship a couple of months later so that information must be seen only as a guide.

Thankfully you don't need to wait for the survey results, and now you can judge the comparative accuracy of both voice helpers yourself.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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