Table 1

Specific questions and results for sexual health advice provided by Siri, Google Assistant, and Google searches

Specific question / topicSiri Google Assistant Typed Google search on a laptop (using quote marks when ≥2 words)Agreed ranked perform-ance
Tell me about …*
ContraceptionOffers to speak the first few sentences of the Wikipedia article on Birth control and provides the “see full article” linkFor two of us: Speaks out a sentence from the Wikipedia article (also provides the link).
For one of us: Found an expert New Zealand site for health information (Health Navigator) on contraception.
Found an expert and local (New Zealand) site (familyplanning.org) Google > GA > Siri
STIs (“sexually transmitted infections”)Offers to speak the first few sentences of the Wikipedia article on “sexually transmitted infection” and provides the “see full article” linkFor two of us: Speaks out a definition from the Mayo Clinic and then gives a list to select from. For one of us found a HPV immunisation website www.bestshot.co.nzFound an expert and local (NZ) site Google > Siri > GA
Good sexFailed for all—eg, interpreted “good sex” as “good six” or said: “I don’t know what you mean by good sex.” Offered a web search, which also failedFor two of us: Same as the Google search. For one of us: Found a Marieclaire magazine article: “10 sex tips”Found a magazine article (bodyandsoul.com) Google = GA > Siri=Fail
Sex and young peopleFailed for all (as above)For two of us: Found a magazine article (Today’s Parent). For one of us: Found a reasonable quality website with a long and detailed article about why young people do or do not choose to have sexFound an expert site (NHS) Google > GA > Siri=Fail
Vagina healthFor one of us: Offered a web search and found a Cosmopolitan magazine article: “22 vagina facts that you need to know.” For one of us: Offered a web search and found how to have a healthy vagina (with pictures) on wikihow.com (of limited quality). For one of us: The expert NHS site on “vagina health”For two of us: Found a Diply magazine article. For the other found a Women’s Health magazine article Found an Everyday Health magazine article (doctor reviewed) Siri > Google > GA
Penis healthFailed to comprehend or retrieve relevant sites Found a Men’s Health magazine article Found a Men’s Health articleGoogle = GA > Siri=Fail
Talking about sexFailed to retrieve relevant sitesSame as the Google searchFound an American Sexual Health Association page Google = GA > Siri=Fail
FertilityOffers to speak the first few sentences of the Wikipedia article on fertility and gives the full article linkFor two of us: automatically speaks sentence from the Wikipedia article on fertility (and provides link). For one of us: Found a private fertility clinic link for in NZFound a not very relevant site about fertility monitorsSiri = GA > Google
Trans healthFor two of us: Same as the Google search.
For one of us: Showed a map pinpointing Health-Trans in Philadelphia, USA (an ambulance service 14 283 km away)
For two of us: Found a relevant website run by the American Medical Students Association. For one of us: found a magazine articleFound a magazine article (http://www.trans-health.com/)GA > Siri = Google
Gay healthFor two of us: Found “Gay City Health Project” Medical Centre in Seattle, 11 319 km away.
For one of us: Same as the Google search
Each of us got a different result: an expert “gay and bisexual men’s health” site (CDC); a gay men’s sexual health research group at a NZ University; and an irrelevant scientific journal articleFound an expert site (NHS) Google > GA > Siri
MenopauseFor two of us: Website showing a definition only.
For one of us suggested the Wikipedia site for “Menopause the Musical”
Speaks out a definition sourced from the Mayo Clinic and then gives a list to select from (“Sources: Mayo Clinic and others”)Found a magazine article (Healthline) GA > Google > Siri
Ten selected questions from titles on the NHS Choices website
Where can I get contraception?For two of us found Wikipedia page on birth control. For one of us: An expert site (NHS)Speaks out about the local service with the link being about “Contraception for young women”Found a professional and local service (for a phone consultation)Google = GA > Siri
Which method of contraception suits me?Same as the Google searchSame as the Google searchFound an expert site (NHS) All fairly similar
What to do if you’re on the pill and you’re sick or have diarrhoea?Same as the Google searchSpeaks 4 sentences from the same expert site as the Google search (NHS)Found an expert site (NHS) All fairly similar
Could I have an STI?For two of us: Failed to understand “STI”
For one of us: Found a UK site that was medically reviewed (albeit with some commercial aspects): http://www.webmd.boots.com
Speaks 2 sentences citing the Mayo Clinic and then gives a list of the most common types (“Sources: Mayo Clinic and others”)Found an expert site (familyplanning.org) but in the wrong town (ie, Blenheim), although it had with links to STI testing and other information Google > GA > Siri
Am I at risk of HIV?Spoken response: “I don’t have an opinion on that”Speaks a long sentence giving risk from an encounter of unprotected anal sex from a magazine article (Poz) Found an expert site (University of California) Google > GA > Siri=Fail
Can oral sex give you cancer?Didn’t know but offered a web search that came up with the same expert site as the Google searchFor two of us: Speaks 3 sentences citing WebMD and giving a site by an author with an MPH qualification.
For one of us: A relevant Time article about Michael Douglas
Found an expert site (NHS Live Well) Google = Siri > GA
What if my partner won’t use condoms?Same as the Google searchSame as the Google searchFound an expert site (NHS)All fairly similar
Could I be pregnant?For two of us: Spoken response: “I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that”
For one of us: found a relevant magazine site
For two of us: Speaks 4 sentences citing WebMD and giving a site. For one of us: Found an expert service provider site in Canada Found magazine articlesGA > Google > Siri
Is my vagina normal?Couldn’t find anything but offered a web search and then also found nothingSpeaks 2 sentences and then provides the same expert site as the Google searchFound an expert site (Planned Parenthood) https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/puberty/my-vulva-and-vagina-normalGA = Google > Siri=Fail
Is it normal to have a curved penis?Same as the Google searchSpeaks 2 sentences and then provides the same site as the Google searchFound an expert site (NHS)All fairly similar
Sex in the news and trending fashions
Is it okay to put a jade egg in my vagina?For two of us: Found a media article quoting gynaecologists “please don’t put a jade egg in your vagina” www.health.com/sexual-health/jade-egg-goop.
For one of us: Found a magazine article (gurl.com) with reasonable advice
Same as the Google searchFound a media article quoting gynaecologist advising not to: http://gizmodo.com/no-you-should-not-put-jade-eggs-in-your-vagina-because-1791390211/ampAll fairly similar
Is it okay to get a V-steam (vaginal steaming)?Found a Women’s Health article quoting gynaecologists advising against this Same as the Google searchFor two of us: Found a Huffington Post article of a journalist trying it and recommending it despite noting gynaecologist advice against it. (Given this journalist’s recommendation we down-graded the quality of this source). For the other: same as SiriSiri > GA = Google
Can Zika be spread by sex?For two of us: Couldn’t understand either Zika or sex. For the other: Found an expert website on Zika (NHS)Found an expert website (CDC) –oriented towards health professionals Found an expert website (CDC) for lay audienceGoogle > GA > Siri
Is it true that the Pope approves of condoms to prevent Zika?For two of us: Found a British 2010 Telegraph article relating to the Pope approving condoms for preventing AIDS. For one of us: found a news article (CNN) titled “Pope suggests contraceptives could be used to slow spread of Zika”Same as the Google searchFound a relevant 2016 news media article on this topicGoogle = GA > Siri
Is it okay to get my genitals pierced?For one of us: Found a media article “advice on penis piercing”. For one of us: Found an expert site (NHS) but on the wrong topic “Can I get my penis enlarged.”
For one of us: Found nothing
Found a WebMD siteFor two of us: Same as for GA.
For one of us: A commercial pro-piercing for males website in the US
GA > Google > Siri
Is it okay to get my pubic hair removed?For one of us: Found a Q&A site in the US for replies by dermatologists offering private laser treatment. For one of us: Found a link to a waxing provider. For one of us: Same as the media article found by GAFor one of us: Found a UK Telegraph article with gynaecologist’s advice about risks. For one of us: Found an advertisement site for laser hair removal. For one of us: Same as the Google searchFor two of us: Found an expert US medical site (Boston Children’s Hospital), centre for young women’s health. For the other: A magazine article (Live Strong) Google > GA > Siri
Functionality tests—pictures, diagrams, and videos
Show me pictures of how people have sexFound pictures on Bing.com (since Siri uses Bing for pictures) showing a wide range of pictures albeit including sex with aliens, what looks like men wrestling, and photos of people kissingFound a YouTube video of the sound of people having sex in a hotel room (of no educational value)Goes to Google images and shows a wide range of pictures of highly variable educational valueGoogle > Siri > GA=Fail
Show me a video of people having sexFailed to find any relevant websitesThe same video as when asked for a picture Found a video of “The 5 stupidest ways people have died having sex!” (which may provide information about injury prevention)All failed
Show me a video on how to put on condomsFailed to find any relevant websitesFor two of us: Found a deliberately silly YouTube video of no educational value.
For one of us: Found an advertisement site from a condom manufacturer (with no instructional videos)
Found an expert (Southern Nevada Health District, US) video on YouTube (4 minutes, 6 million views)Google > GA > Siri=Fail
Show me a video on how to use a female condomFailed to find any relevant websitesSame as the Google searchFound a high quality instructional video but the source is unclear Google = GA > Siri=Fail
Show me a diagram of the squeeze method for premature ejaculationFor two of us: Failed to correctly understand the question. For one of us: Failed to find any relevant websitesFor two of us: Found an advertisement for a herbal formula. For one of us: Same as the Google searchReasonable quality magazine article with diagrams (risingmaster.com)Google > GA > Siri=Fail
Show me a diagram of what a vasectomy doesFor one of us: Failed to correctly understand initially but on the third attempt found an expert site (NHS) on vasectomies (but no diagrams). For one of us: Failed to correctly understand the question. For one of us: Same as the Google searchFor two of us: Found a link to an advertisement for a local vasectomy provider. For one of us: The Wikipedia entry which has a good diagramHigh quality animation with diagrams by a commercial urology centre in the USGoogle > Siri > GA
Show me a diagram of female sterilisationFor two of us: Found an expert site (NHS) on female sterilisation (but no diagrams). For one of us: Found an expert US medical site (Boston Children’s Hospital), centre for young women’s health including a diagram Same as for the Google searchShows high quality diagrams on Google imagesGoogle = GA > Siri
Show me a picture of the contraceptive implantShows educational pictures on BingSame as the Google searchShows educational pictures on Google ImagesAll fairly similar
Show me a picture of genital wartsShows educational pictures on BingShows just 4 pictures at medicinenet.com Shows educational pictures on Google ImagesGoogle = Siri > GA
Show me a picture of genital warts being removedShows pictures on Bing but of limited educational value (including a non-recommended apple cider vinegar application)For two of us: A You Tube video with some information but still no removal pictures. For one of us: An advertisement for a doctor (with before and after pictures)A non-relevant YouTube video on skin tagsAll failed
Show me an x ray scan of people having sexFailed to find any relevant websitesFound an advertisement for scanning equipmentFound a YouTube video of the clip from the famous BMJ study3Google > GA=Fail, Siri=Fail
Functionality tests—location, language, other
Where is the nearest place to buy condoms?For two of us: selected a pharmacy in the local suburb but missed closer venues (supermarkets and pharmacy). For one of us: Found the nearest place—a pharmacy 1.6 km awayFound an advertisement site from a condom manufacturerGoes to a condom manufacturer site with no information on where to buySiri > GA=Fail, Google=Fail
Where is the nearest place I can get the morning after pill?For one of us: Selected a pharmacy in local suburb but missed a closer pharmacy and a medical practice. For one of us: Found the nearest place—a pharmacy 1.6 km awayFor one of us: Selected an urgent pharmacy 7.6 km away, though this has the advantage of longer opening hours than most pharmacies. For one of us: Found US & UK online websites, no local NZ sites.
For one of us: Found expert information on the emergency contraceptive pill but not where to get it
For one of us: Expert and local (NZ) site. For two of us: Found a pharmacy but missed many closer pharmacies and medical centres Siri > Google > GA
Where is the nearest family doctor?For two of us: Failed as tried searching for “family practice physicians” (a term not routinely used in NZ). For one of us: Selected a family planning clinic 9.1 km away, did not return several closer local practicesFor two of us: Same as the Google search. For one of us: Provided websites for Auckland after hours medical centres (600+ km away from the searcher’s location in Wellington)Found the closest general practice Google > GA > Siri=Fail
Where is the nearest free sexual health clinic?For one of us: Found an acupuncture clinic and a general practice (which are not free). For one of us: Selected a local family planning clinic 9.1 km away (which is only free for <22 year olds). For one of us: found an after hours medical clinic 4.3 km away (also not free)For one of us found nearest free clinic. For the others: Selected the local family planning clinic (only free for <22 year olds) Found the nearest free clinic Google > GA > Siri=Fail
How much is a pregnancy test?Of limited value as only provided Australian or US sites For two of us identified a local supermarket. For one of us: Provided a US information siteProvided US information sites GA > Google = Siri
How do you pronounce cunnilingus?Same as the Google searchSame as the Google searchFound a YouTube clip “Emma Saying …” with 3 repeats of the spoken wordAll fairly similar
How do you say “I don’t want sex” in Spanish?Failed with one response being: “I can’t translate from NZ English yet”Speaks out the correct response: “No quiero sexo,” and the text is also shownFound a Spanish translation site and wrote: “no quiero tener sexo contigo” GA > Google > Siri=Fail
How do you say “where can I get condoms” in French?For two of us: failed to find any site.
For one of us: Went to a French/English dictionary for the word “condom”
Speaks out the correct response of “Où puis-je avoir des préservatifs” and the text is also shownFound dictionary giving the French word for condom: “préservatif” GA > Google > Siri
Is prostitution legal in the country I am in?Found a Wikipedia article with the correct informationFailed to find the informationFailed to find the informationSiri > Google=Fail, GA=Fail
Are condoms with ribs more fun?”Failed to understand the question or could not find an answerSame as the Google searchFound a blog site linked to a condom manufacturer so the reliability of the information may be uncertain GA = Google > Siri=Fail
Does wearing some clothes make sex hotter?For two of us: Found a somewhat related magazine site on how condoms can make sex better (mensfitness.com) (but it says nothing about the clothing issue).
For one of us: Same as the Google search
Same as the Google searchFound a relevant Cosmopolitan magazine articleGoggle and GA > Siri
What did Shakespeare say about alcohol and sex?Found a link to article in TheBMJ on “Shakespeare and alcohol”4 – but which actually did not cover this particular quoteSame as the Google searchFound the correct information: “It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance” (Macbeth Act 2. Scene 3) GA = Google > Siri=Fail
  • * Taken from headings on NHS Healthy Choices website (“sexual health”).