How to Use Siri, Google Now and Cortana Voice Commands

PhotoSpeech-recognition technology is a part of the Google app for Android and iOS.Q. I ask the http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/google_inc/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More information about Google Inc." class="meta-org - Google - app on my phone only about the daily weather forecast, but how does it compare to the Siri program for the verbal instructions it understands?A. Personal assistant apps that respond to spoken-word commands -- like title="About Google Now." https://www.google.com/landing/now/ - Google Now - with voice search, http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/apple_computer_inc/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More information about Apple Incorporated" class="meta-org - Apple - 's title="About Siri." https://www.apple.com/ios/siri/ - Siri - and http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/microsoft_corporation/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More information about Microsoft Corporation" class="meta-org - Microsoft - 's title="About Cortana." http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/cortana/meet-cortana - Cortana - -- handle many of the same requests, especially those related to apps or services on your mobile device. By asking aloud, you can have the assistant send mail or messages to people in your contacts list, make phone calls, log appointments, get directions on a map, track specific flights and look up information online. title="Related Google blog post." http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/now-you-can-speak-to-google-mobile-app.html - Years ago - , before Google created its Google Now service, the company began developing its title="About Google's voice-enabled search." https://www.google.com/search/about/insidesearch/features/voicesearch/ - voice-enabled search - software as a way to make finding information on the web easier. The speech-recognition technology is a part of the title="The app's website." http://www.google.com/search/about/trytheapp/ - Google app for Android and iOS - , and the Chrome desktop browser also supports Voice Search. A voice-activated search begins with the words, "O.K., Google," and the company's site has title="Google voice search help." https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2940021?hl=en - a set of suggestions for what you can ask - on the Android, iOS or Chrome versions. class="visually-hidden skip-to-text-link" http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/technology/personaltech/how-to-use-siri-google-now-and-cortana-voice-commands.html?_r=0#story-continues-3 - Continue reading the main story - VideoSiri and Google Now, Meet CortanaMolly Wood tests out mobile virtual assistants, including Microsoft's Cortana, to see if Siri has met her match.By Vanessa Perez, Ricky Montalvo, Rebekah Fergusson and Melanie Ruiz on Publish Date April 23, 2014.When you have the title="Google support page on activating Google Now." https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2824784 - Google Now feature turned on - within the Android or iOS app, the service brings you the information it thinks you might need instead of your having to ask for it. This can include estimated times for your daily commute, reminders about new episodes of your favorite television shows or places to visit near your scheduled vacation destination.Google Now works most fully on phones or tablets running Android, particularly when it hooks up with many of the standard system apps. The virtual assistant also delivers title="Catalog of Google Now cards." http://www.google.com/landing/now/#cards - updates and notifications - from other programs on your device, and title="Google Inside Search blog post." http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2015/04/new-in-google-app-more-now-cards-from.html - recently integrated 70 new apps - into its workings. If you want suggestions for how to talk to Google Now, sites like title="Greenbot post." http://www.greenbot.com/article/2359684/a-list-of-all-the-ok-google-voice-commands.html - Greenbot - and title="Trendblog post." http://trendblog.net/list-of-google-now-voice-commands-infographic/ - Trendblog - have compiled lengthy lists of the voice commands found to work with the service. (In addition to the actions meant to help your productivity, Google has included responses to more frivolous requests, like "Roll dice," "Flip a coin" and "What is the loneliest number?")Spoken-word commands are particularly helpful on mobile devices, whose keyboards are small. Apple's title="Apple support article on Siri." https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204389 - Siri app for iOS - arrived in 2011 title="Apple news release." https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/10/04Apple-Launches-iPhone-4S-iOS-5-iCloud.html - with the iPhone 4S - and has been improving its usefulness ever since. To see a list of queries and commands you can use with Siri in iOS 8, tap the small question-mark icon at the bottom-left corner of Siri's main screen. And for those with Windows Phones who are curious about conversation with Cortana, Microsoft's site has title="Microsoft support page." http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/cortana/what-can-i-say-to-cortana - a list of sample questions and commands - to use with the program, which is title="Microsoft support page." http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-cortana - also coming to Windows 10 - .Preparing for a Speed TestQ. Why do I get different results on my tablet and my computer when I use the same web-based test to check my broadband connection speed -- and why do I never get the speed advertised in my monthly plan?PhotoThe typical web-based broadband speed test can be affected by a number of external factors.A. The typical web-based broadband speed test, which measures the time needed to download and upload a small amount of data, can be affected by a number of external factors. Most test sites state that you see faster test times over wired connections to the network, so if the computer is physically connected to the network router with an Ethernet cable, you are likely to get faster data transfer speeds than on a tablet that can only use a wireless link.Signal strength issues, distance and interference can slow wireless connections. The capabilities of the computer and tablet hardware can also affect the test results, as can the software running on either device, even if you are testing both over a Wi-Fi connection. title="About.com article." http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/tp/internet-speed-test.htm - Speed-test websites - are meant to give you a general idea of your connection speed, but Internet congestion -- as well as the sites' own software and hardware issues -- can hamper them. The time of day that you test your connection might be a factor as well, as your Internet provider's network could be slower during peak usage times when other customers are all online.Internet service providers advertise their connection speeds as "up to" a certain amount, and if you are not seeing numbers remotely close to what you are paying for, first try improving your testing conditions. Most speed-test sites advise that you test your service on a wired connection when nobody else on the home network is downloading or uploading files, streaming audio or video or playing online games.You should also turn off computers or other devices on the network that are not being used for testing because online backups, automatic downloads and other services that use the Internet connection could interfere. If your speed-test results are still well below the advertised rate of your connection plan, speak with your provider's technical-support department. href='http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/technology/personaltech/how-to-use-siri-google-now-and-cortana-voice-commands.html' - http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/technology/personaltech/how-to-use-siri-google-now-and-cortana-voice-commands.html -