Voice assistants: Cortana’s jokes and Alice’s savings 28.01.2019
Voice assistants: Cortana’s jokes and Alice’s savings

According to eMarketer research, the amount of devices with voice assistants will reach 67 million in the USA only. Such a solution is quite convenient. They allow to find the prompt answer to the question, call a taxi, order goods, make a call, get directions, or just talk about unrelated matters.

A voice assistant is an AI-based service able to recognize human speech and perform certain actions in response to the voice command. Voice assistants are most frequently applied in smartphones, smart speakers, and browsers.

A huge amount of such solutions were introduced in 2018. Therefore, explorers from the Stone Temple Consulting marketing agency decided to compare the intellectual capacity of assistants by asking them questions of various complexity. Here are the finalists:

  • Google Assistant: 100% of correct answers;
  • Cortana: 90%of correct answers;
  • Alexa: 80%of correct answers;
  • Siri: 80% ofcorrectanswers.

With the study focusing on the US market, Alice was not included in the rating. Nevertheless, Yandex’s solution is highly competitive with foreign analogues and can offer Russian users more options than other assistants.

Let’s examine advantages and disadvantages of five voice assistants.

Google Assistant, Google

Google Assistant is the most advanced version of one of Google’s first voice helpers. It is compatible with Android, iOS, and Chrome browser. Google Assistant is integrated with all Google services and is able to carry on a dialogue. However, Russian is available only in a test mode.

Pros. This assistant will learn all it can about its owner. This fact definitely scares, but thus Google’s virtual helper has become the most accurate among others. Google Assistant perfectly plans the best possible routes to home, taking into account user’s location, offers a selection of news, as well as analyzes emails and search queries. Besides, it can be integrated with some external services: management of notes on smartphones, reading of messages, and playing of music.

Cons. Unlike other top list participants, Google Assistant does not aim to earn your trust. Its voice is monotonous and cold, which does not encourage communication.

AI Conference: Voice assistants: Cortana’s jokes and Alice’s savings 1

Cortana, Microsoft

Cortana is a virtual assistant by Microsoft. It is available on Windows, iOS, and Android, but its features are limited on the latter two.

Pros. After several years in the sidelines, Cortana has become a more interesting chatbot. The assistant has an excellent sense of humor and can offer plenty of funny responses to your jokes. Cortana is able to manage reminders and calendar, monitor parcels, set an alarm, and search for news. It interacts with several Windows apps and, since recently, can communicate with other bots via Skype. Ifyouask, itwillciteShakespeare.

Cons. The absence of Russian.

Alexa, Amazon

Alexa is one of the world’s most popular bots. The virtual assistant is built into all Amazon audio devices (Echo, Echo Dot, Tap) and into the Fire TV console.

Pros. Alexa can play music and read news from several sources. It provides information about the weather and traffic jams as well as order goods on Amazon Prime using the voice. It is supported by a great deal of smart home appliances. Unlike the rest assistants, Alexa can operate with any external app or service due to the open API.

Cons. Russian is absent. The assistant is not compatible with smartphones, so it can be applied only at home. By the way, don’t be surprised when any of your requests will lead to a recommendation to buy something on Amazon.

Siri, Apple

Siri is Apple’s voice assistant that operates only on its devices.

Pros. Siri understands natural speech quite well. It rapidly processes requests for news, weather, sports, movies, and routes. The assistant can set a required alarm. In contrast to Google Assistant, Siri interacts with certain elements of smart home. It is able to conduct a dialogue and give tips. Availability of many languages, including Russian.

Cons. The absence of open API means that Siri will fail to play a song on Spotify, add a task to Slack, and read a message on Viber. Amid competitors, limited features of this voice helper seem pretty strange: the compatibility with external apps is a compulsory addition for other assistants.

Alice, Yandex

Yandex’s voice assistant is available on Yandex generic app, Yandex.Browser, on Android and iOS platform, and on desktops. Alice’smonthlyaudiencewas30 millionusersin2018.

Pros. Alice is able to recognize music and photos, call a taxi, manage a navigator, etc. It is integrated with the company’s rest services. It is better adapted to Russian than other virtual assistants.

The technology also can:

  • recognize and synthesize speech in real-time mode;
  • support Russian, English, and Turkish;
  • be integrated with MRCP IP telephony.

Cons. It not always gives correct answers related to the location. For example, Alice can offer movies in Novosibirsk instead of the film schedule in Moscow.

Discover more about voice assistants at AI Conference to be held on April 9 in Moscow.


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