Personal Assistants

All the new talk I see online is about how Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple are spending money on artificial intelligence to make “personal assistant” software better. Each company already has its own product: Cortana, Google Now, Alexa, and Siri, respectively.

Unfortunately, I don’t really know if I’ll use any of them. Here’s the problem: these things aren’t cross-platform! I’m a Windows 10 desktop user, so Cortana is built-in, and so would be my default assistant. However, I have an Android phone, with which Google Now works beautifully. I have tried using Cortana for Android, but it’s just nowhwere near as good as Google Now. Alexa only works on the Echo device, so there’s not much going there. Siri only works on the iPhone and Mac, and I’m definitely not switching to the Apple ecosystem for Siri.

I applaud Microsoft for really trying to make Cortana work on Android. This is key, I think, to winning this market battle. It’s unfortunate that the Windows Phone is basically dying before our eyes, because I’m sure the integration would be awesome. I actually loved my Windows phones, but I had to eventually jump ship because of the lack of apps. Their only hope is to make things capable on the other mobile devices.

I’ve convinced myself, just now, by writing this, to give Cortana a real college try. I just downloaded her onto my phone and have her all setup in Windows. Looks like the data came across and shows up on the phone, so that’s cool. I can’t say “Hey Cortana” to the phone, which is a bit of a drag. More to come after a week or so…

Written on June 22, 2016