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The Online Assistant Showdown: Siri Vs Alexa Vs Google

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Shreepanjali Mod

Its true that Amazon’s Alexa was the first one to arrive in world of online assistants but it has been joined-in by several other mates in last one year. Even the initial Amazon Echo has six Alexa powered cousins now that are fighting tough for your attention and money. Digital assistants are capable of doing a lot of things, things that you often like being done by just commanding someone at once. It might be about playing music or setting alarm clocks, calendar event reminders or finding out weather.

Isn’t it better to ask someone where you can find the best beach clothes in your vicinity then typing in search engine bar and browsing through countless web pages? How about a device that takes care of thermostats, TV video streaming, and smart lights with a single voice command? These digital assistants make those things happen within seconds on a single voice command. They behave more like a friend than some freaky computer generated voice.  And the best part is, it is easier to maintain a cordial relationship with these virtual assistants than complicated humans. 

Fig. 1: Apple-HomePod
(Image Source: Pocket-lint)
 
Now let’s talk a bit more about the choices in hand. Out of all, the biggest war market share is currently waged between three biggies - Siri, Alexa, and Google. Samsung is also expected to join the league sooner with Bixby assistant but release dates of this one are yet to be announced.

The Price Page

As for Amazon Echo, you can start creating your budget from $100 which is the smallest one. The Echo Dot can be availed for half of this price which is also lower in quality while Echo Show has price decked at $230.Google’s assistant doesn’t challenges Echo in price’s ground and is priced at $129. But those with a limited budget can take home the Google Home Mini for $49. Those looking for something classy can go for Google Home Max priced aat $399.

Apple HomePod can be availed for $349.

Voice Assistance

This time let’s start with Apple Homepod that makes use of Siri, you may have used it before in Mac, iPad and iPhones. It allows the users to put up questions and get replies, command smart home devices as well as take control of music. For example, if you say, “Hey Siri, I love eating South Indian food’, than this information will be noted by Siri and everytime you wish  to eat outside it will select the best rated South Indian eateries around you and let you know. Similarly, if you wish to ask about weather you can always ask, “Hey Siri, tell me if I should carry an umbrella today or not?” It will tell you the weather forecast for today as well as coming 2-3 days. Trip planning was never simpler than this, isn’t it. Siri also allows the Home Pod users to do a lot of other tasks like check latest news updates, traffic, set timers, and play podcast. If you wish to play some third-party apps you will have to make use of SiriKit which will provide you with access to apps like Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook, and others. 

Fig. 2: Apple Home POOd
(Image source: Forbes)
 
Google Home, on the other hand, allows users to make any kind of queries on Google. The good thing is that you get advantage of 17 years of Google’s search experience which means you can ask peculiar questions like “What did Aishwarya wore to 2008 Cannes” or “How much fat is present in an Alphonso mango?”. Google Assistant is much more friendly than others which means you can also ask “How much protein is present in it?” or “Which college she attended” and it will relate the “it” and “she” in your question with previous question about mango and Aishwarya. 
 
Fig. 3: Google Home Mini
(Image source: TechCrunch)
 
Amazon Alexa is a bit behind as compared to these two. It can take simple commands or a series of commands but you will have to ask full questions everytime. Alexa gets updated from cloud automatically and keeps learning all the time. The more you use it, the more it will improvise on vocab, personal preferences, and speech patterns.
 
Fig. 4: Amazon Echo And Echo Dot
(Image source: Artechreviews)
 
Peculiarity

Naturally, every device will work best with its own manufacturer. Alexa, for example, will read you Kindle e-books in its computer voice. If you finished a chapter on Kindle, it will automatically start reading to you the next chapter after that. It also allows one to purchase monthly essentials, toiletries, and other stuff on Amazon with a simple voice command.

Google assistant would talk to you as a friend. Also, in terms of general awareness and knowledge it is best. Also, in terms of entertainment, ordering food, and voice recognition it is much better than the other two. But if you are looking for excellent audio quality then HomePod is your buddy. This attribute also makes it one of the most expensive one among all.

Security And Privacy

Any assistant you buy, expect your kids to keep messing with it by asking it to make farting noises or giving it command to complete their homework. Parental controls are restricted in many of these. Google offers restricted options on YouTube. While Amazon allows one to set up PIN for purchasing products with voice command. But news segment is unfiltered which might be annoying for some.

Also, you need to take care of what your speaker is listening. So make sure you remember to click the mute button. But all makers claim that these speakers do not send a single word to internet unless these hear a keyword like “OK Google!!” or “Hey Siri” or “Alexa”. Amazon and Google also allow you to delete some specific history.

Configuration

In this respect, all three are winners. Google was a it behind but its last update eliminated that factor as well. With Google and Alexa, you just need to “plug and play”. Siri, on the other hand, goes well with larger size set ups and needs numerous bridges, this also demands extra efforts for configuring HomeKit’s scenes.

Best Assistance

There can be various opinions here but if you see closely Siri surfaces as one side winner over all. It has ability to support comprehensive automation features that are set through Apple Home App and HomeKit. Alexa has also moved a few steps ahead by providing support to routines and home groups.

How To Choose One?

Whatever you choose remember, that no single assistant has all the features. For example, Alexa doesn’t allow you to set up alarm for more than 24 hours. All are in their juvenile stage and still learning from their loopholes. Initially, Alexa could only make calls to Alexa users but now allows users to make calls to regular numbers as well. Google is unique for its updated knowledge base and voice recognition. It knows that loud music is to be played only on your voice command not that of your kid. Alexa learned it quite late.

In crux, all these are currently in their learning phase and future definitely holds some smarter versions. Our take - invest your money wisely. Don’t rush, but if it very important go for the one that is close to your personal preference and personality. Alexa and Google are adding new features every month but Siri is way ahead of all as its support numerous bridges, automation, regrouping via sensors. But this might be one person’s preference, you need to decide according to your own.