Voice Assistants or virtual assistants have been around for years. While some people can find them useful and prefer one over another, others don’t even bother to use them.
Whether it’s to check the weather, to set a timer, or to see what’s on your calendar, the idea of voice assistants is to interact with our devices and get things done without the need of touching them.
There are 4 popular voice assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant of Google, Siri of Apple, and Bixby of Samsung. So, which is the best voice assistant? They all have their pros and cons.
These voice assistants also have similar functionalities, which makes it hard to compare them. Let’s take a quick look at them, and we’ll see how they stack up against each other.
The Best Voice Assistants
The world of voice assistants is expanding more than ever. More electronic devices come with a built-in one. Even Facebook has its own, in case you weren’t aware of that.
Whether it’s a smartphone, smart speaker, or smart Home you’ll have a voice assistant you can rely on to complete tasks and be more productive.
For the sake of this article, we’re only going to focus on voice assistants for smartphones. At the end of this guide, you should be able to find the best voice assistant that fits your needs.
Keep in mind some voice assistants are only exclusive to a certain type of devices – like Siri for Apple products, and others can be used with different platforms.
Alexa is Amazon’s smart assistant, which can be accessed through Amazon Echo, Fire tablets, and Fire TV. It’s one of the most popular digital assistants around and one of the direct competitors of Google Assistant.
Out of the box, Alexa can handle pretty much all the basic commands you’d expect from a virtual assistant. You can stream music, order products on Amazon, control your smart home devices.
What makes Alexa stands out from the crowd is its massive set of skills called Smart Home Skill API. It creates a better user experience, as third-party apps can create a specific skill for a specific purpose. There are thousands of skills available compared to just a few hundreds of Google.
The downside is you need to use those skills by their names, which can be unfriendly and annoying. Google Assistant feels more natural at its commands thanks to its integration with its search engine.
Siri, only available on Apple products, is one of the very first virtual assistants on the market. Apple acquired it in 2010 as a stand-alone App and released it in 2011 as part of iOS 5. Siri has been a huge milestone in the iOS evolution.
When activated either by holding the home button or saying “Hey Siri”, it can handle basic tasks like sending a text message, setting alarms, checking the weather, etc. Siri was intended to work with built-in services, which has significantly limited its functionality.
Not everyone uses all apps made by Apple. In fact, there are lots of third-party apps that are much better than Apple’s.
Check this out: How to Fix Siri Not Working on iPhone (Step by Step)
Since then, Apple has been tirelessly working to improve its virtual assistant. Beginning with iOS 10, Siri can work with certain third-party applications. To find out which apps can work with Siri, just head to Settings > Siri > App Support.
Siri handles the basic tasks just fine except when it comes to taking a selfie, it just opens up the front-facing camera and doesn’t actually take the photo. You’ll have to manually take the selfie yourself.
In terms of response time and follow-up queries, Siri is definitely not the best at it. It doesn’t keep track of what you’ve asked. Without a doubt, Apple will continue to work on Siri to make it the best voice assistant out there.
Google Assistant is an integral part of Android, but it’s also available on iOS devices as a stand-alone app. Like other voice assistants, Google Assistant will do all the basics without any issue.
What makes it stand from the crowd is its integration with the Google search engine. When you make a command, Google Assistant will use your search history to answer your query.
When it comes to conversation, follow-up questions, and understanding context, Google Assistant is the best.
Check this out: Google Assistant Not Working on Android? Try these Fixes
For example, if you ask “Who’s Barack Obama? It will tell you the answer. If you carry on and ask a follow-up question like “When was he born?” It will handle that too without any problem because it keeps track of the information.
The bottom line is you can actually have an ongoing conversation with Google Assistant, things Siri can’t handle well so far.
Bixby has 3 different components: Bixby Home, Bixby Vision, and Bixby Voice. It allows you to do anything you can do via command instead of touching gestures, obviously with supported apps.
It doesn’t only work on Samsung smartphones, but also on other Samsung devices like Smart Fridge, TV, etc.
There are 3 different ways to activate it.
- There’s a dedicated button on the left side, just below the volume button, Bixby will be activated when you press and hold not that button
- From the home screen, swipe to the right and you’ll have access to Bixby
- With command voice like “Hi Bixby”.
Besides all the basics you can think of, Bixby can handle advanced tasks like “remind you where you parked your car”, or “open Twitter or Instagram and post the last photo you took”. You can ask to “open Uber and go to Settings or to rate your driver” in just one command. You can ask to “collect photos and to add them to a folder”.
So far they got 3,000 commands that you can use, impressive right. Bixby is relatively slow to execute its commands and lacks some key commands when compared to Google Assistant and Siri.
However it’s a good start for Samsung, and of course, the company needs to improve it. And when they do, Bixby could potentially become one of the best voice assistants.
Google Assistant is probably the best Voice Assistant out there so far, not because it can do more things than the others, but because of its integration to the Google search engine and its availability to different platforms.
Don’t get me wrong, Google Assistant has a wide range of functionality, and it will only get better and better.
Technically, Bixby can handle more things than Google Assistant and Siri. But Google Assistant has been more accurate and fast at its commands. Samsung will certainly work to improve Bixby in the upcoming updates.
Siri has been around way before Google Assistant and Bixby. However, for the years Siri has been hanging around, it should have been ahead of its competitors. We expect to see a major Siri update with iOS 11 though. So we’ll see if Siri can keep up with its competitors after the new update.