AI assisted modern apps have become an integral part of our everyday life. As if the technology in various other forms had not made us enough lazy that artificial intelligence is evolving to corrupt us further. Sit back and give your fingers that moment of relaxation. Just speak about what you want. Fair enough? Well, that’s what the generations coming along are getting used to (well, that includes me too). Whether its iPhone or android or a Microsoft driven system, there is no place that is untouched with AI.
While Apple’s Siri has been conversing with us, staging desired results, searching the restaurants for us or band shows in the city or giving us weather predictions, it appears that there are many others in the town to give fierce competition to this favourite AI app of many.
With Google Now, Cortana, Hound, Dragon Go and many more, the market is flooding with AI and machine learning driven apps and given the largest and oldest market presence by Siri, we often tend to see it as Siri vs. everything else. Personally having fallen for the capabilities that Siri holds, I thought of making a comparative analysis of Siri with various similar or remotely similar machine-talking-things. Let’s read out what I found.
With no intention of showing a high to one over others, in the comparisons made I have tried to stick to points such as the app’s functionalities, customer reach, privacy and security among others.
|Things it can do||Things it can’t do||AI usage||Privacy & Security|
|Searching things, calling people, tweeting your thoughts, calculations, creating reminders and events, setting alarm, calling people, making reservations are just a few things that Siri can blissfully do for you. The list may go up to more than 50 such things that it is capable of doing. It can also do stuffs like launching applications, finding and reading mails, wishing you a good night. It works only on ioS||It can browse the web only if the url is in the history, otherwise it needs to be fed manually. Another minor hitch is that Siri doesn’t understand who she is and has to be trained for it. It would take Siri as a search word instead of a gesture to address her name.
|It works as intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator. The feature uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services.
|Despite all the positives that Siri poses, few say that there could be a flaw in it when it comes to security. Despite pins and passcodes, there are chances that someone else traverses through your personal information via Siri. It especially could be a threat for those having Siri enabled on the lock screen. However, it could be saved by disabling Siri on the lock screen.|
|Running on a variety of devices and operating systems, Google Now works quite similar to Siri such as dictating texts and emails, searching facts, booking reservations, keep an eye on stock and sports etc. Unique feature of Google Now is its capability to regularly show an information card that estimates your commute based on time of day and location.||Though it can show estimated travel time but if you happen to use multiple methods of transport, it might not work as expected.||It is an intelligent personal assistant by Google which uses natural language user interface to perform its functionalities.||For Google Now to fetch you desired results, it uses a lot of your personal information. And given the fact that Google is no stranger to controversy regarding the release of personal information of its customers, it brings privacy concerns into picture.|
|Its biggest advantage is its built up in desktop and it can recognize both voice and type commands. Offers a lot of personalized information based on what it knows about you starting from information about schedule, weather etc. It facilitates natural language search, identifies songs and sings for you with a more human touch. Additionally, it can open websites, send emails, create alarms and also chat with you.||It cannot launch applications and change settings. Another turn off is that after the command is given once, she stops listening and needs to be given the command again by hitting the listen button. A continuous command system between user and Cortana could be an add on.||It has most powerful AI ever used in the form of Adam’s deep learning. Cortana can also tell you from a picture the amount of calories in your food, thanks to Adam.||Using Cortana might lead to a host of data sharing. It uses various data such as device location, data from your calendar, email and text messages, your contacts etc. It also keeps a track on how you use your device and other Microsoft devices. It needs access to all those for it to be able to work the way it does.
|Alexa, the voice for Amazon echo can do a range of things for you- order a cab ride, play music, remind you appointments, flip coins, read book from kindle and audio book store, be a kitchen assistant, ask for time from anywhere in the room and more. Its quicker to respond and understand commands.||Its functionality might not match Siri, Google Now and Cortana. It faces difficulty in answering tough questions. It cannot search music within a playlist. Audio speakers are good but not the best in the market.||Amazon’s Alexa uses AI to give a tough competition to others. Echo is a well implemented system whose voice recognition is accurate & best in industry. However, Alexa’s question answering engine lacks capabilities in comparison to other AI platforms such as Google, Apple & Microsoft.||With Amazon echo always at home, with sensitive microphones and cloud storage one may fear about it storing all the conversations. But Amazon clears out the concern saying that it doesn’t record private conversation and for those if still there is a fear, mute button can be pressed when not in use.|
|It can conduct both speech recognition and language analysis simultaneously, thereby increasing accuracy and speeding up results. Hence it is smarter, faster and much more helpful version of Siri. Unlike Siri or Cortana which might get confused with few questions and redirect you to search page, Hound can correctly answer complex and in-depth questions with ease. It can find you coffee shops, weather report, nutritional facts and much more.||The voice recognition in Hound isn’t as good as Google.||This voice-powered digital assistant is giving serious competition to others in AI enabled app space.
It can produce near real-time translations of whole sentences in various languages and get responses in split seconds which suggest a good AI dependency.
|It can transmit your location to remote servers. Though it gives the option to disable but it can’t be achieved as it would require you to open the app and again accepting the transmission of data.|
|Indian version of voice assistant similar to Siri which can perform tasks such as give you movie reviews, initiate a google search, review stock market details, make calls, read news, update your status on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter.||It is quite similar to Siri, but not as powerful.||AISHA standing for ‘Artificial Intelligence Speech Handset Assistant’, is a tough competition to Siri in India. The name itself implies its dependency on AI.||It needs info like your location and contacts to deliver the said performance.|
|Viv is the next gen AI assistant made by the makers of Siri. It can handle complex requests and connect with third party merchants to purchase goods and book reservations. Its approach is closer to Amazon’s Alexa or Facebook’s Messenger bots.||It is focused on just one thing: scheduling meetings which it does very well but can’t do anything else. It cannot offer merchant distribution to a massive consumer base the way Facebook and Amazon does.||It claims to be providing an intelligent interface to everything. It enables developers to distribute their products through an intelligent, conversational interface using an AI platform.||To avoid any Security and privacy issues, Viv is working on a new model that will quickly define what is logically private and potentially shareable with permissions.|
|It’s a combination of Nuance’s Dragon voice recognition & natural language understanding with artificial intelligence. It gives you the most relevant content front based on what you require. It gives direct access to over 200 of the most trusted and reliable destinations for mobile content such as Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo.||It takes some time and training to learn voice commands. It has limited words and vocab.
|It depends on AI to a large extend and uses elements of it to help understand the intent of a query.||It faces privacy issues over transmission of users’ contact list to Nuance’s servers. But the company defended the move by stating that they do it for people to better identify names from address book when asked by them.|
|Indigo Virtual Assistant
|A mobile assistant it lets you speak as if talking to a human. She is also capable of sharing her personal opinion. It can manage your calendar, create reminders, control your music by voice, get notes, quickly find locations on maps, pay videos, make phone calls, find contact details and more.||Indigo does excellent however with a few queries it might fail to deliver results. When it cannot answer your questions, it leads you to search engine.||It depends on natural language interaction and is the world’s first intelligent personal assistant app to offer consumers personalization and persistence across platforms and devices. Its intelligent capabilities make Indigo highly intuitive.||It needs access to your contacts, messages and location for the basic functioning of the app.|
|Assistant can learn your favourite places and services and customize your experience based on your past preferences. It allows to speak naturally and offers best suggestions. It is available in many languages including English, Russian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, French, Korean and Japanese and is working hard to learn more.||It cannot read email or text messages aloud. Also, it may require to repeat commands multiple times or type them manually to make it understand few things.||—||They collect location of the device to provide location-based functionality which you can opt out of at any time by turning off the location settings in your device. They do not store the location of the device.|
|Vokul allows you to dictate text messages, emails, post to twitter and facebook, control audio player with your voice, listen to audiobooks, call your contacts, listen to your twitter and facebook feeds and do much more. It is fast, accurate and tuned for noisy environments.||It cannot read received text messages. It doesn’t understand various languages and won’t get you if you are speaking languages that are foreign to it.It cannot integrate with services like Wikipedia and Yelp||—||It collects and uses technical data and related information about your device, system and application software.|
With a huge list to lay a ground for the battle of AI based app, there could be various other domains to be compared- customer reach being an important one. Let’s see how these apps are being utilized by the users. According to a study, only up to 70% of iPhone users use Siri on a regular basis and 2% of American iPhone users have never used it. Talking about Google, which is available in both ioS and Android, it fetches more users than anyone else. With the numbers reaching to more than 1 billion active users, the customer reach of Google Now is ought to be really high. Microsoft Cortana prides over 1 billion question since making her debut while Amazon Echo touched 3-million-unit sale by April 2016. The numbers for others seem to be highly impressive too indicating both the dependency of users on such AI based apps and its popularity. Offering a wide range of features and amidst the cut throat competition, it surely is a herculean task to declare a clear winner as each of them gives some reason to favour it over others!
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Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.