Are You Too Embarrassed To Use Siri, Cortana Or Google Voice Commands In Public?

Are You Too Embarrassed To Use Siri, Cortana Or Google Voice Commands In Public?

I’m a huge fan of digital personal assistants and I have no qualms speaking to my phone in public to set calendar reminders using Google Voice Commands. Apparently not that many people are as shameless as I am, according to a recent study on consumer interactions with voice assistants on mobile devices.

Businessman showing at phone image from Shutterstock

The study, conducted by Creative Strategies, is mainly based on US consumers but it’s still worth looking at the results, especially since AI-powered digital personal assistants are being heavily pushed by the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft globally.

Out of the 500 consumers surveyed, over 90 per cent of respondents have used the voice assistants that came with their smartphones; either Siri iOS or Google Voice Commands for Android. Cortana wasn’t included due to Windows Phone’s low penetration rate. However, 70 per cent of iPhone users and 62 per cent of Android users rarely call upon Siri and Google Voice Commands, respectively.

In fact, 39 per cent of consumers only really use the voice assistants in the safety of their own homes, 51 per cent do it in their cars and only 6 per cent use them in public. According to Creative Strategies:

” 20% of consumers who said they never used a voice assistant stated they had not done so because they feel uncomfortable talking to their technology, especially in public. With public usage as low as 3% for iPhone users, it seems users are still uncomfortable talking to their devices. Even more fascinating is this happens in the US where consumers are accustomed to talking loudly on phones in public.”

I would argue that us Australians aren’t exactly quiet when we talk on our phones in public, certainly not from what I’ve seen. I’m sure this will ruffle some feathers from those who think only rude Americans would deign to speak loudly on their phones so openly. I’m not saying people should be shouting instructions at their phones at the top of their lungs while they’re out and about, but should we be embarrassed to use voice assistance apps in public? Let us know in the comments.

[Via Creative Strategies]


  • It’s awkward and there’s no privacy if you use voice assistants in public. I don’t want everyone in the restaurant knowing that I have to google what tahini is because I’m not sure. I also have a non-standard accent and feel like I have to shout at them or say it with an even weirder accent to get the voice assistants to understand me. The other problem is syntax, I’m not sure sometimes how I ‘should be’ asking for things so I just give up and use my fingers.

    • Yeah non standard accents are not conducive to voice assistants. Personally my accent and my talking speed means repeated attempts at commands. Though over time Google Now certainly has gotten better, though I wouldn’t say that it’s perfectly accurate.

  • I find voice commands much faster for reminder and calendar entry but I don’t use them in public. I would feel like I was telling people stuff they didn’t want to know. I also imagine there would be awkward moments before they see the phone where they would think I was talking to the voices again.

  • I mostly use “OK Google” when being hands-free is essential … ie. in the car. Elsewhere, whether at home or out, it’s often just as quick to just tap/type.

    And while voice recognition and the range of commands have improved considerably, there’s still a way to go. Misheard/misunderstood instructions become frustrating very quickly whereas my fingers know where to press every time.

  • 1st – I have an ascent.
    2nd – Most voice command applications are not tuned to recognize ascents.
    3rd – I don’t feel confident at speaking in a large group of people.
    4th – I value my privacy.

    • The ability to delete your recorded audio on Google is actually pretty handy…. and creepy hearing all that stuff you said to Google Now.

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