Voice interfaces, like Ask Siri, are the way of the future, at least that’s what all the major technology companies would have us believe.
Amazon.com has joined the fray with its Echo speaker (which is really just a housing for Alexa, the company’s voice-activated personal assistant) as has Microsoft with Cortana.
The two most popular voice interfaces are of course Google Now (available on Android devices) and Apple’s Siri.
Here’s a couple things you can throw at Siri or Google Now:
We know that Siri can be rather sassy at times (if you have an iOS device, just ask her what zero divided by zero is) but is there more to her than that?
Apple has made the virtual assistant popular thanks to Siri. In order to activate it, simply say “Hey Siri”.
Here are 10 things you can Ask Siri
- Ask Siri to beatbox.
- Adjust your screen brightness by asking Siri to make your display brighter or darker.
- In need of a caffeine fix? Ask Siri to find coffee shops in your vicinity.
- Can’t remember what you have planned for the rest of the day? Ask Siri to tell you about calendar events scheduled for the rest of your day.
- Ask Siri to check what’s trending on Twitter.
- Siri can send messages to your contacts.
- If you tell Siri that you’re drunk or unable to drive home, she will give you contact numbers for cab companies in your area (if only she could summon an Uber)
- She can convert currencies (which is super handy if you’re planning an international trip or shopping on an international website).
- Want to know the weather forecast? Siri can help with that too.
- Don’t know which song you’re listening to? Siri uses the power of Shazam to identify the song for you (and give you the option to purchase it on iTunes).
Google is the undeniable king of search and it puts that to good use with its virtual assistant, Google Now. To activate it, either say “Ok Google” or hold down on the microphone icon in your Google search bar on your Android handset.
Here are 10 things you can ask Google Now
- You can ask what the weather forecast is.
- Google Now can send a WhatsApp message for you. Simply say “Send a WhatsApp message to… and then say the message”.
- Google Now can open your apps (including your camera).
- It can adjust your phone’s brightness settings.
- Google can get the party started, simply ask it to play music (or mention a specific artist or song that you want it to play).
- If you’re super busy or just very forgetful, Google Now can set reminders for you.
- Keep up to date with what’s happening during your day or week. Google Now can check your calendar appointments.
- It can translate for you (which is great when you’re travelling).
- You can post to Twitter by using Google Now.
- Not sure what a word means? Google’s got your back, all you have to do is ask.
Siri is arguably the more fun virtual assistant while Google’s strength lies in its search capabilities – but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful.
Either way, get used to virtual assistants, they appear to be here to stay and are extremely useful.