An article I wrote for Electronic Products.
The battle of the digital personal assistants
Touchscreens are now the standard for phones and voice recognition is the next big thing. Since advances are being made in wearable technology such as the smartwatch and Google Glass, we’re most likely going to need to talk to our mobile devices much more often. Though voice recognition isn’t perfect yet, this opens the debate as to which digital personal assistant is better: Apple’s beloved Siri or Google’s sophisticated Google Now?
First let’s take a look at Siri, who’s been getting smarter with each version of the iPhone that Apple churns out. One great thing about Siri is that it’s always a button press away, even if you have another app open. Always ready to assist, the intelligent voice was created to do things for you, including setting up calendar events, creating personal reminders, placing phone calls, launching apps, playing music and answering questions honestly, no matter what they may be. Siri can even update your Facebook status and send out your tweets on Twitter. Overall, this trusting confidant has been found pretty useful.
Compared to Apple, Google’s approach to the personal assistant is quite different. Google Now is armed with Google voice search, and unlike Siri, it doesn’t give you information on command, but attempts to anticipate your needs and get the information to you before you even ask. Google Now knows to display the traffic for your morning commute or transit information as you wait for the subway, and it can also show you local news and sports scores of your favorite teams. But for this to work, you must have web history turned on, which is enabled by default, and be signed into Google when you’re performing searches, since Google Now picks up this information from your web-browsing habits. No question about it, a phone predicting what you want before you even think of it is quite impressive.
Both Siri and Google Now have a lot in common, such as displaying lists of restaurants nearby or showing how your favorite teams performed last night, but their approach to satisfying your needs are quite different. Overall, they’re both winners. Siri is great at answering questions, setting reminders, and hands-free calling, while Google Now is ideal if you’d like your personalized information ready at launch, especially if you regularly use Google apps and services.
Which digital personal assistant do you prefer? Do you have a long-time bond with Siri or are you all about Google? Let us know in the comments section below.