Get to know Siri, Google Assistant, Bixby, and Alexa
The virtual assistants that live inside our gadgets are becoming more extraordinary by the day. What was once considered gimmicky is now a helpful tool with real world applications.
As the assistants develop a better understanding, they will no doubt become a big contributor to how you decide on your next smartphone. But, if you’re still a bit new to the virtual assistant thing, let us explain who’s who and what’s what.
Google Assistant lives inside Google Pixel and Google Home - set to make its way onto other Android smartphones soon. It takes over from Google Now, which was previously the only assistant available to Android users.
The main difference between the two is that Google Assistant has a personality, just like its competitors. It can answer all your questions, sing a song, tell a joke, and even host a game show in which you’re the contestant. Check out fun things to ask Google Assistant here.
Apple’s Siri has been around the longest, and is arguably the most famous of the virtual assistants, making its debut in 2011 on iPhone 4s. Siri is now available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac with the recent OS update, Sierra.
Siri can pretty much do it all. It’s available in multiple languages with various regional accents, and has access to seemingly endless info through smart encyclopaedia, WolframAlpha.
Bixby is the new kid on the block, coming to Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ later this year. It has already launched in the US, and once it’s ‘learned’ a bit more about the UK, we’ll have it here, too. Bixby is made up of three parts:
Bixby Voice – You largely control Bixby with your voice, and you can talk to it in a natural way – not like speaking to a robot
Bixby Vision – By using the camera lens, Bixby can ‘look’ at things. Use it to identify landmarks, translate languages, or scan QR codes
Bixby Home – Find Bixby Home by swiping to the right of your homescreen. Here you’ll be able to monitor what’s going on in the world, your recent photos, tomorrow’s weather forecast… the list goes on
Alexa belongs to Amazon, and first appeared on the smart home hub, Echo. Soon the relatively new assistant will be coming to our smartphones too, with news of Motorola and Huawei already signing Alexa up.
In a statement, Huawei said that it has joined forces with Amazon “to develop rich voice activated consumer experiences for mobile users”.
There’s also talk of Alexa being integrated into other internet of things (IoT) tech, in an effort to create a more aligned smart home experience.
Who is your favourite virtual assistant? Join the conversation below.