There’s a micro-war going on for dominance in the field of AI Assistants.
Since Apple rolled Siri out onto our iPhone’s a few years back, all the various technology behemoths have thrown their names into the competition. Siri may not have been the first attempt at a friendly voice helper, but it was clearly the big pop culture moment that set the playing field, so to speak. From Google’s Google Assistant, to Cortana’s helper contained in it’s computers, and of course, most notably, Amazon’s big success – the Echo – the technology world is clearly on fire with the possibility of growth into this new zone of profit.
So, with all that said, which is the best? Where is this monster headed? And what can we expect in the near future with regard to this technology?
Obviously, us at The Brain Mill don’t have all the answers. But we’ve done a bit of research, read some data on it, and used these devices ourselves (or helped make them work for customers/Family/Friends). So what follows is a basic rundown of some of the basic thoughts and recommendations we have on this new techie phenomenon.
By and large, the quality of the Assistants depends on the device you’re using. Now, that last sentence may seem painfully obvious. Because it really is, if I’m being honest. But, for example if you have an iPhone, Siri works pretty much seamlessly with your apps and phone features. It defaults to using your Safari browser, Apple maps for directions, etc. So, if you have an iPhone – truly love your iPhone – is the Google assistant really so much better that we recommend switching phones for that sole reason? No.
But evaluating all these AI helpers against each other on their own merits is a productive project. And this has been done several times and made for some amazing reading. If you want a much more laborious breakdown of how all these programs compare in various areas, I definitely recommend checking out that little link I provided at the tail end of that last sentence.
If you’re thinking of getting a home helper, in the tradition of the Echo, Echo Dot, Google Home, etc, I recommend sticking with the leader in the field. Amazon, that is. Their Echo products are pretty in tune with their users. They are smooth and easy to set up, and getting more streamlined and easy by the day. I have an Echo Dot myself and it’s pretty fabulous. The app that comes with the device is simple to set up and intuitive to use. The device’s design itself is aesthetically pleasing. And, again, the technology is still ironing out and getting better by the day.
You may also want to wait a few months to see what Apple has coming. Rumor has it that Apple is hard at work creating a game-changer in the industry to finally give Amazon a challenge. If you’re as big a fan of Apple’s products as I am, you are getting pretty excited about the prospects of a Siri speaker sitting at your dining room table.
And none of this is to say the Google Assistant is chopped liver. It isn’t. It isn’t yet as smooth as the Echo devices, but with the kind of resources and data Google has right there on-hand, there isn’t a scenario I can see clearly where Google just throws in the towel and gives the reins of this burgeoning profit zone over to Amazon (or Apple) without a fight.
So, for all you readers out there, I leave with this recommendation: Give the Echo or the less expensive Echo Dot a try. I think you’ll quickly love it. Then stay tuned to the scene and see what the people are saying when Apple drops its bombshell (possibly as soon as) later this year. If you know anyone who has a virtual assistant speaker, find out from them how they like it. Go over to their place and give it a try. At the very least it will be fun to see friends and family, no matter the outcome of your judgment of the machine itself.
And, as always, if you have any questions about these machines or even how to set one up, feel free to give a call to the helpful staff here at The Brain Mill at (314) 454-0348. We always love to hear from you.