Virtual assistants are all the rage nowadays. The iPhone 6s has Siri, the latest Windows 10 has Cortana and trusty Google (and other Android systems) has Google Now. So who’s secretary of the year? Let’s find out.
One of the most interesting things of having a virtual assistant like an AI(Artificial Intelligence) to do grunt work for you, is to feel like a boss. To feel like that, your assistant has got to feel human.
Siri is a versatile assistant whose voice and personality can be customised. Don’t like a female Siri, just change it to a male version and you will have a manly voice answering your queries and booking restaurant reservations for you. In addition, Siri has a very human touch. Online memes and hilarious pictures of Siri’s comedic replies to our trollings are a testament of that. An argument with Siri never gets old.
Named after the shipboard AI that accompanies Master Chief, Halo’s main protagonist made famous by Microsoft’s super-series on the Xbox, Cortana is the latest virtual assistant released by Microsoft through Windows 10. Cortana is a female only virtual assistant. It supercharges the Windows 10 experience, making fans talk to their computers non stop. Cortana is only available in a female voice and doesn’t have too much of a personality like Siri, but she is powerful as a virtual voice assistant.
*Now that Halo 5 is out and I have seen what Cortana is doing, I’m not sure I can talk to her the same.
Google Now doesn’t have a personality at all to be honest. It doesn’t even have a name. It just does what you ask of it, open apps, navigate to places and so on. So in terms of the human touch, Google Now isn’t spectacular at all.
This is where Google Now reigns supreme. Google’s voice recognition algorithm is nothing short of spectacular. I’m saying this as a Singaporean. I’m sure most of us do not fully utilise our virtual assistants not because we don’t have access to them, but out of frustration that they don’t understand our poor Singlish. Google Now doesn’t have a Singlish option, but it recognizes most of what I say, unlike Siri and Cortana that inteprets quite abit of my speech as just blabber.
Siri does a good job in terms of voice recognition but for Singaporeans, she still might not be our ideal type. However, a saving grace is that you can correct her pronunciation of certain words and phrases. This helps us teach Siri some Singlish that makes our lives much easier.
Maybe it’s just me, but Cortana doesn’t really seem to be optimised for Singaporean accents. It fares worse than Google Now and Siri in terms of recognising my instructions and commands to search the web. Cortana also likes to use Microsoft’s in-built Bing, which I don’t think we really like…right?
Google Now trumps all other AIs in terms of its reach in the tech universe. It is available on almost all devices, from computers to smartphones. Just install the Google Voice Control app and you have access to Google Now. On Windows and on Android, especially on Android Smartphones. You don’t even have to lay a single finger to access Google Now. Just say “Ok, Google” and your smartphone will automatically be prompted to listen to your commands. Just remember to enable the “Ok, Google” option in Google Now and also change your language settings to English (US). It seems to only work for that particular setting.
She’s only available on iPhones, so that’s a bummer. She doesn’t even appear on MacBooks, although there are rumours that she’s going to be integrated into the new Apple OS on Macs. Nevertheless, she has been made available for the past few iOS on iPhones and has been improved significantly over the course of the past few years, so kudos to that. If Siri could be made cross platform, that would be amazing, But we all know Apple likes to have their “exclusive” stuff, so I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Cortana is only available on Window 10, which fortunately, is available for free, so thanks Microsoft! Nevertheless, that’s still only 1 platform available in the whole tech world. So for now, Cortana seems to be confined to the least number of platforms. I hear she’s being brought to Windows Phones as well, so that’s great. After all, Cortana is out to own humanity and takeover all tech devices right? (Halo 5 reference, if you don’t get it, it’s alright)/.
So what’s the best virtual assistant in the tech scene right now? Who’s the best secretary that makes you feel like “The Boss”? Let us know in the comments and if you have any tech news you would like us to cover, just drop it in the comments and we will get to it!