The voice technology revolution is in full swing. In the process, a question worries the majority of people connected: “Which voice assistant to choose?”.
To better understand the market for these devices, follow this voice assistant comparison to the end in order to buy the best one.
But first, if you are not very tech-savvy you are certainly wondering what is a voice assistant and especially what is it for?
What is a voice assistant?
A voice assistant is a software application housed in a device that allows end users to use voice commands to control the device or other connected devices in the vicinity.
This device can have multiple uses, in particular: requesting information, listening to music, controlling the house and connected devices (comparison of connected bulbs, connected sockets , robot vacuum cleaners , etc.) managing the schedule or even making reservations . Most of the time this happens through a connected speaker.
Thanks to voice recognition technology, a connected voice assistant, also called a connected speaker or intelligent personal assistant, allows the user to perform searches and control connected devices in the home by voice.
This virtual assistant can thus replace:
- The remote control;
- The switch;
- The diary and notepad;
- The radio station;
- The weather station;
- The alarm scheduler;
- The turntable and the hi-fi system, etc.
It is also possible to swap the computer for the connected voice assistant to search for an address or a definition, place orders on e-shops, pay bills and consult bank accounts.
The user simply has to formulate his request using a simple vocabulary for the tool driven by the voice assistant to run. So he can control his house without having to lift a finger.
How does a voice assistant work?
Alright then, how does it work? Voice assistants work through artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning as well as voice recognition technology. When the user interacts by voice with the digital assistant, the AI programming uses sophisticated algorithms to better understand the requests and predict their needs.
Although those who are taking over the market are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri (from Apple) others, just as promising, have decided to get in tune.
What are the benefits of a voice assistant?
Innovative and revolutionary, the artificial assistance is designed to simplify the use of any home automation system. Requiring a tablet or a smartphone, home automation can indeed be difficult to handle for those who are not good with screens and applications.
Thus, instead of adjusting the temperature or the brightness of the room via a touch screen control, it is enough to give commands to the voice assistant such as “Raise the heating”, “Adjust the brightness”, “Reduce the intensity of lighting by 20%”, etc.
Compatible with different home devices, voice assistants allow you to control the entire connected house by voice. Thanks to increasingly extensive voice commands, these devices offer a multitude of possibilities:
- Turn lights on and off without having to get up to activate the switch;
- Adjust the smart lighting according to the room, the activity, the desired atmosphere, and its decor;
- Raise and lower the heating without having to move from the sofa;
- Lock and unlock the doors;
- Open or close the curtains;
- Order a taxi;
- Program alarms, and more.
Thanks to voice assistance, the user also has the possibility of creating scenarios. For example, in the “I’m leaving home” scenario, the lights go out, the surveillance camera and motion detectors are activated, the heating temperature drops, etc.
In the “Put the children to bed” scenario, the lighting becomes dim, the hi-fi system plays soft music… In the morning, progressive lighting and the coffee machine can also be programmed from a given time.
Another interesting feature of an intelligent personal assistant is the music service. With this option, the user can instruct the device to:
- Play your favorite album or a particular playlist to create an atmosphere;
- Stop the current music;
- Skip tracks;
- Adjust the sound volume;
- Connect to a radio station.
Most brands of voice assistants are particularly compatible with music streaming and video-on-demand platforms.
Thanks to the integrated artificial intelligence, a voice assistant can also provide various useful information in everyday life, among others:
- The outside temperature and other weather forecasts: the device collects information on various internet services to offer generally reliable forecasts to its user. The latter can for example ask his voice assistant if it is necessary to take an umbrella before going out.
- The state of road traffic to locate traffic jams on its route, to know the number of kilometers between two places, or estimate the duration of a journey.
- The schedule for the day so you don’t forget anything without having to consult your diary or notepad.
- The latest news.
- Cooking recipes: the user can ask his voice assistant to detail the steps to follow to concoct a dish and to repeat if necessary.
- General information: the device can answer various questions in different areas: the height of the Himalayas, the capital of a country, the age of a personality, or the cry made by an animal.
How to use a voice assistant?
Voice assistants must be connected to a WiFi network to work. They are equipped with a microphone to hear user requests, a speaker to broadcast responses, and artificial intelligence to analyze the request.
For the device to activate its microphone, it must be called by its name, beginning the sentence.
Note that an indicator light comes on to let the user know that his voice assistant is listening.
To configure your voice assistant, simply go to the smartphone settings, activate the voice assistant, and download the application that allows you to adjust the connected speaker.
Best voice assistants on the market
The three best intelligent voice assistants of the moment are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri from Apple. However, although they offer features in common, they each have advantages and disadvantages that will allow you to choose for yourself the best voice assistant 2021 corresponding to your needs. And it goes without saying that the three nominees remain in pole position, with Google and Amazon having a head start on Apple.
1. Google Voice Assistant: The Smartest Google Assistant
- Popular Google Assistant compatible devices: Google Home Mini, Google Home Assistant or Google Home Voice Assistant, Google Home Max, Android and iPhone via the app to download from Google Assistant
- Number of Google Assistant compatible brands: more than 1,000
- – Google Assistant supported languages: English (AU, CA, GB, US), French, German, Japanese
Its compatibility with Google, the most popular search engine, makes the Google voice assistant the best option for getting precise answers to questions. In addition, its technology is advancing very quickly and constantly evolving, which makes the Google Assistant a long-term investment.
To install the Google Assistant on your Android phone, the manipulation is done quickly from a Google Assistant APK file.
- Intelligence and precision
- Ability to run two commands simultaneously from a Google Home Assistant speaker
- Constant evolution
- Excellent compatibility with Google and YouTube search engine
- Compatibility of home automation devices and services: less than Alexa (10,000 compared to 60,000 for the Amazon assistant)
2. Best Compatibility: Amazon Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa
- Popular Alexa-enabled devices: Amazon Echo Alexa, Echo Dot, Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo 2, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Android, and iPhone via the Alexa voice assistant app
- Number of Alexa compatible brands: more than 7,400
- Languages supported by Alexa: English (AU, CA, GB, IN, US), German, Japanese, French
Ideal for device compatibility, the Amazon Alexa voice assistant is unquestionably the first choice to make your home (even more) smart. It has more features than its competitors and allows voice control of devices (cameras and lights) from your home. Ideal for transforming your home into a smart home. In addition, in an era where e-commerce is favored by consumers, Amazon’s device is perfect for online shopping in the best conditions.
- Compatible with smart home devices – validated by Amazon Echo test
- Better shopping experience: easier transactions (purchase, follow-up, and cancellation)
- Answers are not always relevant
- Mobile experience: Alexa is not pre-installed on smartphones and activation is not as intuitive as Google and Siri
3. The best for the Apple ecosystem: Apple Voice Assistant: Siri
- Popular Siri compatible devices: Apple iPhone and HomePod
- Number of Siri compatible brands: more than 50
- Siri supported languages: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English (AU, CA, IN, NZ, SG, US, ZA), Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Siri virtual assistant is perfect for Apple users. Apart from its multilingual capability, what makes the difference with the Apple voice assistant is its unparalleled experience with Apple devices. The choice is therefore logical if you are loyal to the brand’s ecosystem. HomeKit devices (Apple’s home automation service), for example, go hand in hand with the Apple HomePod speaker, which makes home automation even easier.
- Apple ecosystem integration
- HomeKit compatibility
- Language support
- If you have a version before IOS 13, Siri will not be compatible with certain popular services such as Spotify
- Device Versatility: Siri is certainly effective via HomeKit devices, but less so on other products.
If the leading trio of voice assistants is well established, other virtual assistants are developing to deal with the monopoly of Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri. The three virtual assistants that we present to you will surely be talked about in the coming months in different fields. Everything suggests that these assistants will give a hard time to the three on the podium.
4. Best for Pros: Microsoft Voice Assistant: Cortana
Surely you have already heard of Microsoft’s voice assistant and maybe even use it already. Be that as it may, Cortana has not had the expected success with the general public despite her intelligence. Indeed, following a survey by Perficient Digital, the virtual assistant ranks 3rd in the precision and accuracy of the answers given in front of Siri! The problem is Cortana has only low compatibility with connected devices which is detrimental to it and competition is fierce with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Limited to the Windows 10 system and the Harman Kardon Invoke connected speaker, the virtual assistant is disappearing from more and more platforms to make way for competitors. Now, Microsoft is turning to professional use of its voice assistant, its integration with Microsoft Office 365 applications is proof of this. Data security has also become a priority to reassure professionals.
5. Celia Huawei’s first virtual assistant: Huawei Voice Assistant
This assistant works under the new operating system of Huawei Harmony OS because it is private from Android. To answer users’ questions, Célia works with the Qwant search engine. For the moment, it is only accessible on smartphones, but this should soon be extended to watches and other electronic devices from Huawei. Its arrival on the brand’s connected speakers (including the Sound X in partnership with Devialet) should not be long in coming either.
With attractive features and ambitious objectives, the first version of Célia nevertheless suffers from its lack of experience and will need several updates before being at the level of the best assistants.
6. The most anticipated virtual assistant: Facebook Voice Assistant
If there is a voice assistant that we expect, it is undoubtedly that of Facebook, the last of the GAFAM which does not contain one. After a trial in 2015 with a virtual assistant integrated into Messenger, Facebook did not repeat the experience due to the high cost. Almost a year ago, news came out about a new assistant that the giant would work on to accompany Facebook Portal and Oculus headsets. But since then, nothing.
This time, Facebook is calling on individuals to develop the intelligence of its new connected assistant and this is happening in the United States. It is through the Viewpoints app that the data of voluntary users is collected. Individuals are paid $1 per recording. All this is to create an assistant capable of equipping the brand’s products. Because currently, Facebook Portal works using Amazon Alexa, the data, therefore, escaping the social network giant.
Guide: How to Choose the Best Smart Voice Assistant?
How to choose your personal assistant?
To make your choice, two important points must be considered. The first is, appropriately, the performance of voice technology. An assistant integrating better voice recognition than another product will be smarter and easier to use. And the Holy Grail is an even more sophisticated voice recognition that provides answers based on an analysis of your voice.
Next comes connectivity and compatibility. The efficiency of a smart speaker is evaluated according to the voice assistant that commands the actions. You also need to analyze your usage, and what you are going to do with your device. Ask yourself the right questions: are you looking for a tool to interact with your digital assistant or a voice assistant for the connected home?
After that, everyone has their preferences. If you bet on design, the choice is wide. Between the voice assistant speakers in mini and maxi versions and others with a screen (Smart Display), it’s up to you.
Voice assistants share similar features. Certainly, but still, some devices are designed to meet more specific needs. Amazon Prime followers will prefer to use Alexa to have a better shopping experience. Those who regularly stream videos via YouTube will naturally turn to Google Assistant. But it is not forbidden to choose two assistants of different brands, one does not preclude the other. If you have an iPhone or are an Apple brand loyalist, you can use Siri when you move and use Alexa when you are quietly installed at home. In short, although the criteria mentioned above will help you choose, your needs will take precedence over the rest.
What are the decisive criteria that drive up the rating of a digital voice assistant?
Whatever request you make or question you ask, your assistant should be able to provide you with clear and informative answers. And this, regardless of the complexity of the question. The assistant technology will need to be sophisticated enough to deliver the desired results. You will be able to receive the weather of the day as well as the best exercises to have concrete abs. In short, the product must formulate coherent and quality responses. In other words, simple answers with additional sources to obtain all the information sought on the most complex questions.
Completion of tasks
The best voice assistant will have to be a diligent performer (good student) because that’s what designers have to rely on to satisfy users. We expect him to be able to perform the most common tasks such as quickly giving us the weather forecast, the alarm, the routes, or the good addresses where to go to the restaurant.
The applications are also among the criteria for choosing the voice assistant speaker. Like smartphone applications, those designed for the voice assistant can enrich the user experience. This is thanks to personalized services offering the possibility of carrying out more specific tasks. The device compatible with the voice assistant will therefore gain in terms of performance and relevance.
Voice home assistants give pride of place to connected devices when they are compatible. They integrate with devices like a home security camera or smart thermostat to increase your security and comfort. But still? You can turn off the light or adjust the temperature from where you are just by using the home’s voice assistant technology.
Follow the news and new features of voice assistants
Along with the competition, the artificial intelligence associated with voice assistant technology is constantly evolving. Indeed, Amazon and Google are developing functionalities for their virtual assistant, thus extending their use to cars or even smart glasses. Checking ongoing progress allows you to follow what’s new with your voice assistant. Evidence from other developments also shows that the evaluation of voice assistants is not complete until we have seen their full potential. Voice assistants are still under development. Designers have understood that with increased customer demand and competition, evolution is mandatory to stand out. And that’s the whole point of choosing the right one that will effectively meet your needs.
In other words, voice assistants, as we see them in science fiction movies, have not yet arrived – the moment we are all waiting for – at the stage of being able to perform infinitely complex tasks and answer all questions perfectly. But one thing is certain, they already improve your daily life.
What does the future of voice assistants hold for us?
According to the study made in 2019 by Perficient Digital, the intelligence of voice assistants has reached a level that is difficult to surpass. This is why new algorithms will have to come into play to push the capacity of virtual assistants and bring them into a new era. The future of these personal assistants promises us many advances and who knows good surprises with the arrival of new players on the market!
The best voice assistant according to the figures of analyzes and studies
That’s it, we’ve come to the point of knowing which is the best voice assistant! Before the drum roll, it is necessary to remember several points. First, according to analyses by Stone Temple , the Google Assistant remains the champion in terms of relevance of precise answers to questions. Cortana stalks him by responding to requests with precision. Alexa is the revelation when it comes to progress over 2017 numbers. Siri has made significant hardware improvements. There is no doubt that war is declared.
The best voice assistant is above all the one that respects all its commitments and manages to meet your most important needs. It allows you to enjoy multiple features with devices of your choice. Although there is no single winner in this competition, opinions will undoubtedly differ. You can designate it according to what you consider to be the most “indispensable” in your daily life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to delete the history of questions asked to my voice assistant?
For each of the personal assistants, it is possible to delete the history of questions and therefore of activity.
- Google Assistant/Google Home: with a simple “Ok Google” voice command, you can delete a conversation of a specific duration, for example: “Ok Google, delete the activities of the day”. If you want to delete all history, you will need to go to the page called “Google Assistant Activity” located on your Google account and then choose to delete the entire period. This is done in the end without too much difficulty.
- Amazon Alexa: just like Google Assistant, it is possible to delete activities just with your voice by saying “Alexa, delete everything I said today”. Another option you have to delete your history is to do it from your Amazon account. Click on “Manage your content and devices”, then go to “Privacy settings” then “View local history”. From there you just have to choose the option “Delete everything”
- Siri: for Apple’s virtual assistant, everything is done from your iPhone settings. Once there, you just have to go to “Privacy”, then click on “Analytics and improvements” and deactivate the option “Siri and dictation”
How to activate Google voice search?
- – On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google app.
- – At the bottom right, tap More then Parameters then Voice.
- – In the “Hey Google” section, tap on Voice Match.
- – Enable Hey Google.
What is Google Now vs. Google Assistant?
If Google Now doesn’t tell you anything, that’s normal. Google Now is actually the “ancestor” of Google Assistant. First voice search, the first version has therefore given way to the voice assistant that we all know now. The latter finally allowed a two-way conversation which was not possible with Google Now.
Is the Google Assistant available on iPhone?
If you don’t enjoy your conversations with Siri on your iPhone that much, good news Google Assistant is downloadable from the App Store. So you can enjoy its intelligence as an Android user. Say “Ok Google” to start your conversations and voila! Unfortunately Google Assistant cannot become a default app like Siri given Apple’s closed ecosystem.
What is the best Bluetooth smart speaker for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri?
Unsurprisingly, for the Alexa voice assistant, the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot connected speaker is the best. Thanks to it, managing your connected objects becomes child’s play. Despite everything, we can blame it for its audio, the quality of which is a bit lacking. On the Google side, we prefer the Google Nest Mini speaker, an elegant little jewel of technology to take advantage of Google Assistant. But also the famous Google Home speaker, the basic model to take advantage of Google’s virtual assistant. To take advantage of Siri, the choice is more limited, HomePod is the only solution available to you. If you have an iPhone and an Apple Music subscriber, this is the perfect speaker with its highly enjoyable audio.
How to install your voice assistant on a connected speaker?
All smart speakers respond to voice with built-in microphones to hear you from a distance and respond to a wide range of possible requests. To activate them, just say a keyword according to your voice assistant.
Is Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant, worth it?
Unfortunately, the voice assistant of Apple’s great rival lacks the responsiveness and precision to cope with the best voice assistants. Google Assistant is much more docile and efficient on the Android operating system. In terms of routines, however, Bixby is doing quite well and its Google Lens-style object recognition system is a real asset to develop. An assistant struggling to exist but showing progress!
Are there personal assistants capable of competing with those of GAFAM?
The Asian sector is dominated by the BATX composed of Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent , and Xiaomi. And these eastern net giants also have their voice assistants, which are more and more adopted by the populations. Personal assistants from Baidu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi have seen their sales explode in recent months, particularly in China where they are popular.
Where does Facebook stand in the war for the best voice assistants?
Facebook is unable to compete with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa at this time. Besides, the firm would opt for a completely different approach to differentiate itself. She would first choose to apply voice control on Facebook devices, including the Oculus VR headset. A good way to enter the dance of voice assistants.
Is there privacy in all of this?
This is the primary question that poses a problem when talking about voice assistants. And it is not for nothing since many cases have tarnished their reputation with the general public. It is good to know that smart speakers with a voice assistant need data about you to improve your experience. You will therefore not escape recordings that are supposed to be “voluntary” but which can quickly be without your knowledge. Voice assistants may mistake commands and turn on without you having ordered them. According to US researchers, virtual assistants can turn on up to 19 times per day without being invited, a figure that can be scary… To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it is recommended to turn off your connected speakers when you no longer need them.
Can you hack a voice assistant?
Several researchers have found that there are methods to hack a voice assistant. The “Surfing Attack” or the method of “Light Commands” has been proven effective. But the means used to use these hacking techniques are quite substantial. So it’s still too recent to be dangerous, but just the existence of the possibility of hacking can raise questions and put some people off.
Itís nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks