We give you permission to fall in love with your voice-controlled digital assistant
In today’s rapid-paced society, it’s easy to get caught up in the little things. Dry cleaning? Forgot about it. Groceries? You’ll get them tomorrow. That thing that has been on your to do list for the last two weeks? Still there.
The plight of the modern professional in the technological era is not that there are too many things to do, it’s that there aren’t enough ways to get them done.
Enter: the digital assistant.
They can draft e-mails, book a flight, check the weather and get dinner delivered without you ever having to lift a finger. While Apple’s Siri is the most familiar digital assistant at the moment, she’s got some company coming her way.
A household name, no doubt, Siri debuted to the masses with iOS 7 in 2013. The evolution of Siri exploded with the ability for developers to use Siri within their own apps. Since then, connected users have interacted with the digital assistant for all matters of day-to-day living, from finding the best route to a destination, to setting up a calendar invite with a colleague.
The latest addition to the assistant roster, Google’s Assistant enhances already popular apps like Google Maps and Gmail, or services like Google Flights. A follow-up to Google Now, which was released in 2012, Google Assistant remains the only personal assistant that can hold a two-way conversation using Google’s natural language processing algorithm. Joaquin Phoenix might be able to relate on this one.
Microsoft Cortana’s major plus is its synchronization across platforms like Xbox, laptops and Android phones, unifying notifications into a single stream. Cortana responds well to follow-up questions as well, using tools like Bing search engine and Microsoft Edge to connect stored data to further questions. Cortana is also the wittiest of the bunch, reaching into the snarky humour all assistants are known for. When asked who its father is, Cortana replies, “Technically speaking, that’ll be Bill Gates. No big deal.”
Alexa was the only assistant not available on a screen; until recently it was voice-control only. That changed when Alexa launched on Amazon's Kindle, but the Echo speaker remains the most popular device to use the savvy digital assistant with. Alexa’s strength lies in her ability to connect all things within your home and personal life, from changing the volume on your TV to the temperature on your thermostat. To really turn up the heat, you can ask Alexa to remind you about your Fitbit stats and weekly goals.