Would you say you have a “personal connection” with your virtual assistant? Have you given it a name (other than Siri)? Do you wish your virtual assistant could migrate across devices, and be available to you whether you’re on your PC, tablet, or phone? Do you wish its voice was a little…sassier?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions – or if you think we should have referred to the virtual assistant as “she” rather than “it” in the above paragraph – you probably have a closer relationship with your phone than you think. A recent, informal study conducted by Nuance, a company specializing in voice recognition technologies, concluded that our phone is now our “wingman,” and Bianca Bosker of HuffPost Tech goes so far as to suggest that we’re actually falling in love with our mobile devices. And if you’re one of the many who are hoping for a sassier Siri, don’t fret… Apple’s on it.
Genuine affection for mobile devices is nothing new, but the demand for a more intimate experience with one’s digital assistant seems to be driving the technology to new heights. Apple’s Siri is already something of a celebrity, but Android’s Google Now went a step further and transformed its integrated assistant into an active, rather than passive, participant in its user’s life. Google Now learns your voice, your routes and routines, your favorite sports teams, and so on, and sends you pertinent alerts throughout the day. Is there a major traffic jam awaiting you on the commute home? Is your subway arriving any time soon? Should you pack an umbrella today? Without any prompting from you, your phone will keep you abreast of what you need to know, and it only gets more accurate over time.
Unfortunately, however, Google Now doesn’t have a voice at all, not even a sassy one, and its voice-recognition capabilities are less than perfect. In any event, we can certainly expect the major players to keep refining our digital assistants for the foreseeable future, and the sassier, the better.