Voice assistants - Are they actually useful?

6 February 2018
It's getting harder and harder for mobile phone manufacturers to stand out with features being added and taken away from new models each year. One feature that is here to stay are voice assistants and me being the curious one that I am, I question; are they actually useful?

For reference I will be discussing the Google assistant as I have a Oneplus 5, Moto 360 2 and Google Home mini; but let’s be honest, all voice assistants function the same so you can use this post as an umbrella covering them all.


To start my journey I had to get over the first hurdle of feeling comfortable shouting a command at an inanimate object rather then doing it myself. I leaped over this hurdle pretty fast, well at least got one foot over it as I felt comfortable enough shouting at my watch at home and in my car, just not in public (I wouldn't want people to know think I'm weird...).

Admittedly, there isn't much need for a voice assistant in public. I only found myself using it when I was either too lazy to reach for my phone or when I was driving. When I drove was when the voice assistant blew me away. If your car lacks Bluetooth functionality or integrated media controls then being able to change the song or make a call by using your voice is revolutionary.

That being said, as complex as these voice assistants are, I could really only throw basic commands at it like 'set an alarm for...', 'turn my bedside lamp on' or 'next song'. It's not that I was reluctant to use it, there just wasn't a need for anything more complex then that; and that sentence pretty much sums up my experience.

I was fully prepared to be invest in the voice assistant but there was simple no need. To answer my first question of are they useful, yes. But to pose another question of are they essential? Not at all. I could easily go a day without using the assistant. Apart from driving and when I was closing my eyes and realised I forgot to set an alarm, anything else just felt too long / tedious to use the assistant for.

Having the Google Mini Home and a mobile operated lamp means I will continue to use the voice assistant but other than that and what I listed above, I don't see things going much further. I can appreciate the effort put into the assistant but I'd much rather developers focus on developing other areas of phones such as battery life or Mac-Andriod continuity.

I'm curious about you guys. Have you managed to integrate voice assistants better into your life? Do you have a favrouite command? Is there a feature you would like your voice assistant to have?

Comment Bellow!

Forever shouting at inanimate objects,
Mario El :)

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