Siri vs Alexa: What's the Best Voice Assistant?
Siri vs. Alexa
I know tech gurus always talk about Siri vs. Google but the real match-up should be between the HomePod and the Amazon Echo.
They both have the ability to control smart devices and are both technically hands-free, but what makes people want to use them and are they equally compatible with one another.
Discover the truth about two voice assistants that are more similar than you thought, and what does the future hold for Siri and Alexa?
Siri was the first voice assistant introduced with the earlier iPhone, and she has found her way into pop culture.
There's no question that she is the most popular assistant we have today given the explosion of the smartphone and Apple market. I've seen her discussed on TV, in movies, and in real-life.
She has become the device we all know and love, so why do we neglect her so much.
When Siri came out, a lot of people thought of her as a novelty addition to the iPhone because she wasn't able to do much. At least she had a personality, which humanized her into something special.
However besides the anthropomorphic qualities we've given her, there was very little else the Apple giants had done to push her forward. For years Siri became a stagnant voice assistant that people had no reason to use.
It's been like that since her introduction, but hopefully we'll see a brand new Siri very soon.
Who Is Alexa?
Amazon's Alexa is still the new kid on the block because she's less than five years old.
A lot of people are just getting to know about her particularly outside the United States due to her limited though growing global reach.
Alexa is most famous for being the voice of her Echo family including the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. She also had her inclusion on the Echo Plus, Auto, Sonos, Tap, your phone/computer, and numerous other devices.
She's similar to Google if you took your phone's assistant and put her in a Bluetooth speaker, which Google also did with the Home and Nest.
What differentiates her from Siri is the lack of popularity and personality. She's still an up and comer, but she's growing more interesting over time.
Alexa is a doer, Siri is a doer when she feels like it.
The Best & Worst of Siri and Alexa
The two assistants almost do the same things but there are differences.
- Siri uses Apple's HomeKit to control smart home products and Alexa can connect with numerous smart home devices through Bluetooth or a Zigbee hub.
- Siri and Alexa are both capable of telling corny jokes and giving you standard information like the time, calendar, weather, sports scores and traffic.
- Siri and Alexa can both be activated via voice only.
And it stops there...There's more they can do together but let's talk about a few distinctions.
- The iPhone's Siri can't hear more than a few feet away while Alexa can hear you several feet away.
- Siri couldn't be used handsfree before the iPhone 6 and until the intro of the HomePod while Alexa in Echo devices can only be used if plugged in.
- Siri won't always understand you and can mispronounce what you say while Alexa is much more accurate with understanding what you say
- Siri has a limited range of smart home devices while Alexa has a massive range of them
There's a few more likes and differences but those are the basics. The other huge thing they both have in common is that they're on the bottom of the intelligence pool.
The Battle of the Voice Assistants
Apple's Siri has learned the hard way that first is not always best while Alexa is still developing and avoiding the pitfalls of previous assistants.
- Both Siri and Alexa can't hold a candle to the Google Assistant when it comes to smarts though.
Google can provide more information than the other two assistants combined, and it'll only become more and more intelligent in the months ahead. Presently the Google Home/Nest speakers are competing directly with Amazon's smart speakers.
The powerful search engine could sink both Siri & Alexa if they're not careful, however one of them is in much bigger trouble than the other.
Which voice assistant could be eliminated from relevancy within the next couple years?
Is Apple Siri in Danger?
Apple's Siri is in trouble because Apple has refused to innovate over the past several years.
Alexa has the Amazon ecosystem in its pocket that includes a huge selection of smart devices and Google is only getting more and more intelligent.
Apple is quickly losing traction with the iPhone as Android phones are taking over the global market share. The company hasn't created anything new and unique, and if they do, they'll be third stringers because several companies have beat them.
- There's no way for Siri to catch-up unless they make a ground-breaking product; unfortunately the HomePod wasn't it.
There's been one small incremental increases to her intelligence over the years, and even a huge smart boost would keep her outside the ranks.
It's a shame because Siri is the voice assistant everyone knows and she was one of the most unique additions to the smartphone.
But as we've learned, first doesn't mean anything if you can't capitalize on it.
Is Amazon Alexa in Danger?
Does the future of Google threaten Amazon's Alexa?
Google threatens it somewhat but not to the extent that Apple is threatened. The most likely scenario is that Alexa plays second fiddle to Google regarding AI assistants.
- Due to Amazon's vast grip on the smart home market and first mover advantage they'll be in control for several years.
Amazon has done extremely well in taking advantage of smart products because they knew Alexa wouldn't be able to match Google in terms of intelligence. Amazon is not an inherent tech company, and they've had very low points such as the Fire Phone.
In the tech world you need to be in charge of something to stay relevant, and Amazon has figured out how to do it.
Future of Voice Control
What we know for certain is that both assistants will continue to become smarter and more powerful/useful.
However will we care?
We'll probably care about Alexa because she's situated to work inside the home and car, and it's more comfortable using voice control within the privacy of your own home.
We don't use Siri in public and some may argue we barely use her at all. There's no need for it unless she becomes super-intelligent and accurate. The HomePod tried to compete with the Echo & Home but they're third in line.
- You never want to be 3rd best if you're a tech giant.
I think Apple missed their big opportunity to capitalize on the emerging smart home market, and the only thing Siri's got going for them is familiarity. Unfortunately it won't mean anything if people don't use her.
Amazon and Google want people to use them because they care about productivity, and Siri needs a huge push to challenge them.
There are potentially big upgrades in the works, but will they be enough to get us to care again?
I'm not so sure.