Despite all the time and energy companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and others have spent stressing the importance of AI, actual progress doesn't always feel that swift. That's because after about a year on the market, the Google Home has just gotten the ability to do two things at once.
Tagged With virtual assistants
Virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Now are still in an awkward phase. They're useful for controlling your stereo, answering the occasional trivia question, or warning you about traffic, but they still don't have the intelligence or access necessary to really anticipate your biggest needs. It's nothing like having a real human watching you and handing out advice. Which is exactly what performance artist Lauren McCarthy promises to do, for three days at a time.
The writing could be on the wall for the humble keyboard and mouse. Google, a company that made its bread and butter from traditional search engines, is moving towards intelligent voice-controlled devices and VR platforms that put users inside the computing environment. Google Home and Daydream are just the beginning.
Android/iOS: Hound is fast -- really fast -- and while your phone probably already comes with its own virtual assistant, Hound integrates with services like Uber and Yelp. The team behind it hopes more will follow, for a truly cross-platform assistant that does the same work for you on any device.
iOS/Android/WP8: Previously mentioned personal assistant Indigo organises your appointments, sets reminders and alerts, and supports voice commands. The app keeps everything in sync across all of your devices, and now that includes iOS.
The number of voice-activated "virtual assistants" for Android has exploded in recent years, ranging from the gimmicky and niche to the genuinely useful and broadly applicable. None of them are perfect, but we think that if you can get it on your device, Google Now's rolled-in simplicity and array of genuinely useful tools make it the best personal assistant your can get on an Android device.
There are a number of apps for Android that all advertise that they can be your personal assistant. None of them are perfect, and all of them have their quirks, issues, and especially their limitations. Even so, we think that Vlingo is your best bet for a well-rounded personal assistant for Android.
It's hard to argue that there's a better virtual assistant for the iPhone when you've got Siri, because Apple can create an app that is completely integrated with iOS. That said, if you don't have Siri there are plenty of great options that may even be better some day. Here's a look at why Siri's great and plenty of other excellent alternatives as well.