Researchers have predicted that the combination of Artificial Intelligence, Human Capacity and Automation could triple the productivity. And since years most notably organizations are working on AI to enhance their productivity. In a recent study, Forrester Research forecasted 300% increase in the investment in Artificial Intelligence in 2017 as compared to 2016. But what is the reason behind this growth? We humans have a tendency of opting a way which is the easiest and least time-consuming. Artificial Intelligence is the platform that provides this way to us and apart from this AI increases the productivity of the work at the same time. And one of the best development in the field of Artificial Intelligence is “VIRTUAL ASSISTANT.” In this blog we would be exploring about the Virtual Assistant, what are the different platforms of Virtual Assistant, what are their benefits and flaws and which of them is the best.
INTRODUCTION TO VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Before diving deep ahead, we must be knowing What is Virtual Assistant? A Virtual Assistant is a Software Agent which is capable of performing various tasks and services for an individual. Sometimes the term “Chatbot” is also referred for Virtual Assistant generally for those accessed to Online Chat. The capability and usage of Virtual Assistant is increasing rapidly, with various new products launching in the market.
Virtual Assistant is developed using “Natural Language Processing (NLP)“. NLP is a domain of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Computational Linguistics. NLP deals with the interactions between computers and natural (humans) language. Apart from this, it particularly deals with the programming of computers to efficiently process large natural language corpora. It basically involves speech recognition, natural language understanding, natural language generation etc.
There are various brands that provide the platform to Virtual Assistant. Some of them which are widely in use in the current scenario are:
- Alexa: It is an Intelligent Personal Virtual Assistant developed and endorsed by Amazon. It was launched in November 2014.
- Siri: It is an Intelligent Personal Virtual Assistant developed by and endorsed by Apple Inc. It was launched in 2011.
- Google Assistant: This Virtual Personal Assistant is developed and endorsed by Google. It was launched in May 2016.
Let us have a brief overview of all the three and analyse the Pros and Cons of them, which one of them is the best and other related aspects.
Alexa is an Intelligent Personal Virtual Assistant created by Amazon. It can be used in the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot devices developed by Amazon Lab 126. Alexa is capable of doing several tasks like interacting with the voices, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, providing weather, traffic and other information, such as news etc. Amazon’s Alexa is also capable of controlling various smart devices and is thus used in Home Automation system.
Siri is an Intelligent Personal Virtual Assistant released in 2011. It is a part of Apple Inc’s iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS operating systems. The SIRI assistant answers the questions using a natural language user interface. It uses voice queries to make recommendations and performing the required actions. It was originally created by SRI International Artificial Intelligence Centre. SIRI’s speech recognition engine is provided by NUANCE COMMUNICATION and is based on advanced Machine Learning technologies for its functioning.
Google Assistant is a personal Virtual Assistant developed by Google. Unlike Google now, it can engage in two-way conversations. It was initially debuted as a part of Google’s messaging app Allo. After a period of time, it deployed on other Android devices as well. It uses natural voice to primarily interact with the users. However, keyboard input is also supported by the Google Assistant.
BATTLE OF THE THREE ARMIES
Alexa remains always attentive towards its name. It has the most impressive speaker and microphone technology. It has the capability of listening to the commands and phrases in a normal voice from anywhere in the room. The Echo’s speaker can hear any kind of voice from anywhere. But this sometimes becomes a drawback as it may also consider some unwanted voices as well.
Siri is quite good at understanding natural language. It even reacts to different ways of phrasing the same question. Apart from words, Siri is the most natural assistant when using the common language. But at the same time, you need to be very close to your phone when you talk to Siri. It will have trouble understanding you otherwise.
Google Assistant is the most successful out of all when we talk about coping with a wide range of accents. On the other hand, it misses the feature of coping up with the natural language as in Siri.
When we talk about response time it signifies the time taken by the Virtual Assistant to respond to a given command. Amazon’s Alexa has an average response time. It is neither that quick and nor that slow. You do not get much disappointed with Alexa in this regard.
On the other hand, Siri has quite a slow response and it even gets worse as the time passes by. You may notice that at times when you hold the home button or say ‘Hey Siri’ for a long time, you may have no response. However, Apple has provided few fixation methods to overcome this kind of slow response.
Google Assistant at this part is again the achiever. It has a good response time towards the commands of the user. You may end having good outputs to your command very quickly in case of Google Assistant.
RANGE OF CAPABILITIES
Alexa is basically developed for creating Smart Homes. It is great for handling home devices and buying things online. It is also useful for making reminders, playing music, adjusting the thermostat and for turning on/off the light. But when we talk of sending a personal message, you must have the specific calling app.
Siri is amazing for on-the-go purposes and therefore it accurately give you directions while travelling. If you don’t want to pick up the phone, it can even send the personal message to that person. Other range of capabilities includes searching the web, making calls, opening apps, setting up the calendar events and alarms etc. When you ask Siri for news updates, it will provide the links but would not read out loud to you. Same is the scenario for buying things, it will give you the links but would not buy it for you.
Google Assistant is the shiniest star when it comes to handling your personal life. It has a great collection of personal data marking your interests, daily commute, schedule etc. It is the best of the three which anticipates all your daily needs and it even actively assists you.
SWITCHING ON WHEN NEEDED
Alexa Echo/Echo dot will listen to “Alexa” to get activated as long as it remains turned on. Moreover, you have an option for turning the microphone off. But Alexa Assistant sometimes reacts to unwanted voices due to the advanced Echo Microphone Technology.
By pressing and holding the home button of the iOS device you are using you can activate the Siri. You may also leave the always-on option activated in order to notify that whenever you say ‘Hey Siri’, it is a start to a new command. You can even train Siri to respond only to your voice. This will not allow the system to activate through some unwanted voices.
You can simply activate Google Assistant by tapping the microphone on the screen. It also has an always-on option like Siri and responds to the phrase ‘OK Google’.
WORKING WITH THIRD-PARTY APPS
Alexa is great with a third-party app with a reach of up to 130 applications. You can buy things, ask for a cab from Uber, play music etc.
Siri is incapable of interacting most of the third-party apps. It can play apple music but cannot ask for an Uber cab. It is limited to work only with the Apple apps.
Like Alexa, Google Assistant also work with a variety of third-party apps. You can play music on Youtube, add to-do-lists on Trello etc.
SMART HOME VS ON-THE-GO
Alexa is not a device meant to be purchased for on-the-go services. The software is most useful and idea for Smart homes.
Due to its availability on multiple portable devices, Siri is great for on-the-go services. Though Apple is still working to make it more efficient for Smart Home services as well.
Similar to Siri, Google Assistant is also great for on-the-go services. Apart from this, it is also good for Smart Home services as well.
Alexa is available on Amazon Echo and Echo dot which is great in case you want to set it for your home.
Siri is available on i-devices like Apple Inc’s iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS operating systems.
Google Assistant works on Android, iOS, PC’s, though its hardware controlling capabilities are limited on iOS.
So here we are at the conclusion. Who wins the battle of the war among Alexa vs Siri vs Google Assistant? Let’s find this out.
The microphone of Alexa is very impressive but has its Echo’s Speaker has a drawback. It sometimes considers the unwanted voices in the room.
|Siri is very effective at natural language processing. It is attentive towards the commands and phrases of the user.
|Google Assistant is the most successful among all under this category. It is highly efficient for natural language processing.|
|RESPONSE TIME||Response time of Alexa is average. It is neither too slow nor too quick.||Siri is a little slow in responding.||Google Assistant is again the achiever. It has the best response time among all the three.|
|RANGE OF CAPABILITIES||Alexa is basically designed for Smart Home purposes.||Siri is effectively used for on-the-go purposes.||Google Assistant is also majorly used for on-the-go services.|
|SWITCHING ON WHEN NEEDED||Gets activated when it hears “Alexa.”||Gets activated after hearing “Hey Siri.”||“OK Google” is the phrase used to activate Google Assistant.|
|WORKING WITH THIRD PARTY APPS||Alexa is great at working with third-party apps including a collection of up to 130 apps.||Siri is not much effective in this module. It is capable of working only with the Apple apps.||Google Assistant can work with a variety of apps.|
|SMART HOME VS ON-THE-GO||Meant for Smart Home services.||Effective for on-the-go services.||Effectively used for on-the-go services but could be used for Smart Home services as well.|
|DEVICE ITSELF||Used on Amazon Echo/Echo Dot devices.||Could be only used on i Devices like iOS etc,||Could be used on Android, iOS, PCs etc.|
We have compared all the three digital assistants- Alexa, which is a prominent technology for Smart Homes; Siri, that has been around for a while and Google Assistant which is significant for both on-the-go and Smart Home services.
If I have to take one among all the three, I would be slightly edged towards Google Assistant. Google is sitting at the top. It has a huge environment for popular software services on which the Assistant can call. It is a leader in searching, emailing, music, calendaring etc.
Siri, on the other hand, is a patchwork. It is hard to feel stuck with the service.
Alexa is fine and excels at simple tasks. But is just can’t handle as much as google.
Artificial Intelligence is shining in every possible scenario and even in those which were never expected to be existing ever. Virtual Assistant is one of those scenarios and is among the best platforms provided by AI. We hope that this blog could help you sort out the term Virtual Assistants and analyse the entire battle among the three widely used Virtual Assistants viz. Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
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