Thursday , December 13 2018 Ausdroid » Software » Assistant and Artificial Intelligence » Hey Google & Alexa: Is it Raining Today?

Some of the most popular questions asked of Google and Alexa voice assistants are about weather so let’s see how they both let you know about rain.

The photo above taken by my colleague Jason tells me that it is raining a lot in Sydney near the CBD right now. But what about the rest of today?

Most people who own a smart speaker would probably just ask “What’s the weather?” but after querying both assistants this morning, they didn’t tell me how much rain was expected.

Google told me “Currently in Waterloo it’s 20 with rain, today there will be thunderstorms, with a forecast high of 20 and a low of 16”.

Alexa told me “Right now in Alexandria it’s 18 degrees Celsius with rain throughout the day, you can expect more of the same with a high of 19 degrees and a low of 16 degrees”.

Asking “Is it raining later today?” Alexa’s response was a bit more useful than Google because it specifically mentioned a large amount of rain. Whereas Googles answer didn’t tell me whether there will be a tiny amount of rain or a lot.

Google said “Yes it’ll continue raining in Waterloo the rest of today”.

Alexa said “It’s raining right now, you can expect about 74mm”.

Asking “Do I need an umbrella?” Both answers were good but I’d rate Alexa’s answer as better.

Google said “Yes it’s currently raining in Waterloo”.

Alexa said “It’s raining right now, you can expect about 74mm”.

Some people I know find thunder and lightning very scary – or have pets who do – so they want to know if there will be a thunderstorm. When I asked: “is there a thunderstorm today?” Google’s answer was better than Alexa.

Google said “Today in Waterloo there will be thunderstorms, with a forecast high of 20 and a low of 16 degrees, it’s currently 20 with rain”.

Alexa’s answer was less useful. It didn’t mention thunderstorms and just gave me the same answer as “What’s the weather?”.

That’s plenty of rain information about today but what about tomorrow.

I asked “What’s the chance of rain tomorrow?” and both assistants gave useful information. I think Google’s answer had the edge over Alexa. However the ideal answer from both would have been both a percentage and the timeframe for expected rain.

Google said “There’s a good chance of rain in Waterloo tomorrow from 4 to 8 am”.

Alexa said “It might rain in Alexandria tomorrow, there’s a 50% chance when will it rain in Alexandria tomorrow”.

Overall both voice assistants offered useful information but their advice was not consistent. Usually one assistant gave better tips than the other.

What’s your experience of asking Google and Alexa about weather forecasts and rain in particular?

As an aside please also let us know in the comments if Google Home or Alexa weather forecasts think you live in a different suburb to where you actually live.

Google Home insists that I live in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo. However I actually live in the suburb of Alexandria nearby. Yes I’ve already entered my exact address into the Google home details so it should know where I live.

Neerav Bhatt   Journalist

Neerav has been interested in Android phones since he bought the 1st one ever released (HTC Dream/G1). He has never bought an Apple product :-) His dream phone would have stock Android OS, fast high-res camera and swappable 4000mAh battery.

A high performer in multiple fields, Neerav has worked as an IT Support Analyst, Mainstream media writer/Photojournalist and University Research Librarian.

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Darren
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Darren

I’m usually more interested in the temp than rain. If it’s a weekend of I have something planned, I’ll go to the Google weather app on my phone and look at the rainfall by hour if Assistant mentions rain.

Lindsay
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Lindsay

I’m guessing Google gets its information from Accuweather? Whenever I compare what the Assistant tells me with what BOM tells me, Google is always a couple of degrees out. I agree that questions about rainfall, thunderstorms, blizzards etc only elicit vague responses from Assistant. She does remind me, however, that ‘she is learning all the time’, so maybe will improve with time. I can’t comment on Alexa.

Lindsay
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Lindsay

PS Love the new ‘Guest’ icons.

Oldmike
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Oldmike

Google’s home responses seem generally good , but if i want more accurate weather i look at the Google weather app hourly section .
If it says 90% chance of rain at 2pm in my suburb , it seems usually fairly accurate to about half an hour on a good day.
I suppose some of it also comes down to how often you have your app update the weather .

Mark Smith
Ausdroid Reader

It gets mine wrong but to be fair I live within a hundred meters or so of the neighbouring suburb so I wouldn’t expect any wild variations in weather between the two.

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