VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

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Computing devices are becoming  more efficient day by day, in terms of credibility, processing power many more aspects, may it be a smartphone, a tab or a laptop. But what makes these devices more efficient and user interactive for any laymen is the operating system. A large number of efforts are made by the companies in understanding the user experience and making it more user friendly.

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The next step in this revolution is by introducing various artificial intelligence programs by the tech giants along with their respective operating systems. This artificial intelligence has been introduced to various platforms in different ways. The most effective way of delivering the strength hidden behind the algorithm of artificial intelligence is the VIRTUAL ASSISTANT.

Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have been in the race of delivering the best performance through their virtual assistants on their respective platforms.  Apple is said to be the pioneer in this revolution by introducing its personal assistant SIRI in October 2011. All these leading four companies have their own assistants namely:

  • Apple – Siri
  • Microsoft – Cortana
  • Google – Google NOW
  • Amazon – Alexa

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Lets have a deep breakdown of these assistants as individuals:

APPLE’s  SIRI

images-2Siri merely became a talk of town when not was introduced in October 2011 by apple in its newly launched iPhone 4S. People were seen talking and giving commands to their smartphones for setting meetings and reminders as well as just speak the query and siri gives the results through safari. Later on apple integrated siri to all its devices including the forthcoming iPhones, iPads, and iPods except OS X. But recently at WWDC 2016 apple announced the support of siri for  Apple TV , Watch OS and the Mac OS Sierra, which will be the successor to apple’s desktop and laptop OS X. Now you will be able to give voice commands to your tv or your apple watch, to play the movie of your choice and siri will make that possible for you .images-1

Siri has many unique features of remembering your favourites, and setting your nickname, by which it will further address you. It gives you the current news feed perfectly as well as precise weather reports, movie timings and many more common things we use to search daily are now just a voice command for siri. Over that, siri has a history of all your searches and all your search query data is transferred to the apple servers. There is also an option to alter the voice of siri from a female version to male.

Siri has more support for regions in he United States as well as UK. The voice recognition protocols used by siri are strict enough and only accept strict english accents only. The support of siri is though less in the indian subcontinent and it becomes difficult for siri to understand the Indian accent. Thus, Siri as an over all package is great and functions pretty well as an assistant.

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MICROSOFT’s CORTANA

imgresIntroduced by microsoft in 2014, Cortana came with a bang in the world of artificial intelligence. Microsoft brought Cortana to all its platforms at the same time, say it Windows desktop OS, Xbox, Windows phones or any windows device, Cortana was there to serve its users.

The update rolled over with the update of Windows 10. Thus now just order cortana and it will start  Halo on your Xbox.

Same as siri, Cortana was also first made available for the United States, and UK., showing no language and regional support for the Indian subcontinent.The functionality of cortana is moreover same as siri, which is to set remainders, to fetch the nearby restaurant menus, when ordered to do so, and much more. Cortana is also linked with Skype as a bot. Cortana on the other hand constantly keeps you listening, which can be sometimes breaching privacy. This feature can be turned off from the settings.

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The best thing about cortana is that it is also available for cross platform devices, i.e.. Android and iOS also. You just need to install the cortana app. But the integration with third party apps is not as smooth as its inbuilt integration with windows OS. Recently, windows rolled over an update for windows 10, bringing along with it the support of cortana for the devices in indian subcontinent and many more places. Different Indian accents were introduced in male and female voice along with the default american accent of cortana. Thus cortana is a sweet assistant.

GOOGLE’s  Google NOW

imgres-2Google has always been a step ahead in technology then rest of the world, so can also be seen with its personal assistant NOW. Google provides the support of Google NOW on all the android devices. NOW can be accessed by a single tap on the google bar on your smartphone home screen, and just go on, rest of it will be handled by google.

The best feature of Google NOW is that whenever you give a voice command to google NOW, it passes over the query instantly to google servers and the servers process the information and send it back, meanwhile all these things happen, the processing power of google is used instead of your phone’s processing power, which in turn makes the results display way faster and more accurately as compared to all the other virtual assistants available.imgres-3




Google NOW or ‘OK’ Google is only available on the android operating system. Unlike Siri and Cortana, there is no biasing about support between US and rest of the world, all the information is uniquely available for all regions. When we tested Siri vs NOW, the search results also clearly indicated NOW’s better voice recognition abilities then Siri. Google NOW understands the Indian accent very clearly and the recognition capability is far better than siri.

Google has announced Google HOME, a similar device as amazon echo which will be used for smart homes. Google will introduce HOME and a messaging app with AI named ALLO this December 2016.

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AMAZON’s   ALEXA

imgresEcho by amazon has became an inevitable device for a smart home. Amazon introduced ECHO which was powered by artificial intelligence and a sweet voice of assistant named Alexa.

Echo functions as a complete package for a smart home, it connects very easily with other devices of your home, and works even more swiftly with amazon fire devices.

Though alexa has not been introduces to other amazon fire devices, it works like a charm with Echo.

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Other companies such as VIV Artificial Intelligence is trying to make an assistant which works perfectly on all platforms and all OS.

Thus  this world heading towards a direction of augmented reality, these virtual assistants play an inevitable role in the process. We hope these bots provide further convenience in their daily work to their users.

Image courtesy: Google

ADITYA GURJAR




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