On Friday, we asked if our community uses any virtual assistants and how often. As always, we cross-referenced the data from the four NextPit domains and correlated the answers. And that's what you check out below.
- Most people who use a virtual assistant do so every day.
- Google Assistant is the most widely used among the options on the market, especially on mobile.
- Personal assistants have yet to show their potential.
Most people who use a virtual assistant do it every day!
- Most people already use a virtual assistant, with the exception of our German Community;
- Those who use a virtual assistant do so practically every day.
As we can see in the graph below, in all NextPit domains the majority of people who responded to the poll say they use a virtual assistant, with the exception of Germany. For 54% of the German Community that participated in our poll, assistants are out of the question at the moment.
Among the French and international community (NextPit.com), we had a tie, as 46% replied that they do not use this feature at the moment in NextPit FR and COM. In Brazil, 71% of respondents say they already use virtual assistants.
In the comments, it is possible to see that the non-use of voice assistants is related to habits, the experience limited by errors and, of course, privacy concerns.
I don't use any, I think I'm the only one who hates giving voice commands to the smartphone, even though I'm a Tasker user and like automation lololol.
Paulo Ricardo (Brazilian community)
[...] The microphone [on the phone] is permanently inactive, although I want to use the "OK Google" to unlock [screen] and search at the same time; what is not possible with iOS (security before comfort) in contrast with Android.
Babb (German community)
On the other hand, most people who use a Virtual Assistant end up doing it every day, more or less frequently, but still daily. In Germany, 31% of people say they use it every day. In Brazil this number rises to 44% and in France to 37%. In our international community, 43% of people say they give an "Ok, Google" or an "Alexa" every day.
Once again, looking at the comments, we see that the fact that assistants are available directly on the mobile phone is a relevant point for this use.
Because my smartphone even has a button dedicated to Assistant, in the case of Google itself, I use even more than usual.
Soterio Salles (Brazilian community)
This also proved relevant in the second question of our poll, especially when we looked at the popularity of Google Assistant on mobile compared to other assistants like Siri, Alexa and Bixby.
Google Assistant is the most popular among assistants
- Google Assistant is the most used among the options in the market, especially on mobile.
- Alexa is the second most popular assistant, with massive use on smart speakers and screens.
The fact that almost all mobile devices come out of the factory with Google Assistant is a clear sign of the app's popularity among people who use a voice assistant. This can also be measured by the use of the feature on smart speakers, as if we were to remove the use of virtual assistants on smartphones, Amazon's Alexa would have a clear advantage over Google Assistant.
Much of Alexa's success on smart speakers and screens lies in the "more natural" way Amazon's assistant interacts with people. After Alexa, Siri comes in as the third choice.
For my part, I mostly use Alexa, only because she is much more "personal" due to the much more natural voice output. Google Assistant (it is and remains the worst name of all assistants - by far) still sounds like a robot to me and Siri translates almost everything 1: 1 from English to German. She has a natural voice, but "I'm playing the song, now" breaks a lot 😅
And yes, the voice output, or how natural it is, is very important to me.
Tim (German community)
I think Cortana sounds better.
And Celia sounds amazing too, unfortunately it's not very smart in German.
Otherwise, you're right, Alexa is quite natural and also understands a lot.
Maximilian He (German community)
Personal assistants have not yet shown their potential
- The assistants' usage is still very limited, restricted to fairly common scenarios: Search, weather updates, home automation, alarms and reminders, and entertainment.
My initial interest in this research was really to understand if virtual assistants are already present in the daily life of our community. So, considering that most of the people who participated in this week's poll said they are already using this feature in 2021, it seems reasonable to me to say that the technology seems integrated into the daily lives of most of you.
However, out of curiosity, I added a third poll to find out how Virtual Assistants end up being inserted in everyday tasks. The result was no surprise: Usage is still pretty basic. Search, news consumption and calendar updates, home automation and entertainment.
From our community replies, it is also possible to say that these services, in addition to improving the voice interaction aspect, need to offer an exclusive or much better experience than what we already find in other apps on mobile, because only then will they make themselves really useful.
[...] Summary: I think voice assistants are completely superfluous, unless you also want to be heard everywhere and always. And yes, you can disable the Assistant with simple means.
Oil fox (German community)
[...] I also have a Google Home Mini that works as a radio in the office, but it is also less and less used there, because it does not even recognize many radio station names... even following the exact terminology you want, try it out.
Jens Vaupe (German community)
[...] I don't use any virtual assistant. I manage very well what I have to manage with the calendar and alarms integrated into my smartphone, that's more than enough for me.
Jerome69Paris (French community)
I received a Google Nest Hub 2 speaker as a bonus at contract renewal and I was disappointed with the sound of the speaker, I'm happy if I get 20€ ($25) for it.
Laazaruslong (German community)
Although the use of voice assistants is widespread among our community, the constant misinterpretation of voice commands and the few benefits compared to the services we already have in the market still greatly limit people's experience.
However, with the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT), it seems inevitable that companies will address these issues, as the usage of smart devices with embedded voice assistants is predicted to increase by an average of 12% per year. According to such data, we are expected to go from 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030.
Soon, the adoption of these technologies seems almost inevitable for most of us, do you agree?
Many thanks to all the people who participated in the poll, as well as those who elaborated on their answers in the comments. If you have suggestions for new polls, feel free to share them. Next Friday we'll have a new poll of the week!
Virtual assistants are everywhere, from mobile phones to speakers to smart screens to even the kitchen refrigerator. But do you actually use one of these services? Which one? That's what we want to know in this week's poll!
On Wednesday, my colleague Benjamin Lucks opened our newsletter by talking about the technology we don't see, that is, the integration of technology services and products into our routine in an organic way. It got me thinking about the automation experience we have today with virtual assistants or voice assistants, as services like Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and others.
Integrating voice assistants into everyday life, even in 2021, is still a task that demands energy from the side of those using the technology. In other words, patience is required. In particular, because it is not an organic or invisible action; rather, it is an active one, which we do using voice commands.
In addition to the limitations of understanding virtual assistants, on mobile phones or smartwatches, for example, we have activation errors or false acceptances, which end up causing a bad experience and, in some cases, can be considered an invasion of privacy. This causes many people to disable such features and even forget they exist.
Personally, I am a big fan of using technology without physical interaction, but by voice. I use Google Assistant on mobile, have a Google Nest mini and Google Nest Hub 2 at home, use Siri on the Apple Watch, and am a big fan of Alexa in my living room. I don't see a need to use Cortana on PC or Siri on Mac yet, but I believe that in the future, voice extension may play an important role in computer use.
But, what about you?
How often do you say "Ok, Google" or "Alexa"?
Voice assistants already appear in TV ads, movies and series, and of course they're most likely integrated into the mobile phone or computer you're using right now to read this text. So they are no longer just products of the fertile minds of science fiction screenwriters. But are they really popular?
According to Google, Google Assistant is already used on more than 1 billion devices, in 80 countries and in more than 30 languages. These devices include smart speakers, smartwatches, headsets, smart TVs and, of course, smartphones. According to the company, 76% of those devices' owners use some form of AI on a weekly basis – source: Google.
With that in mind, I declare our poll for this week open: How often do you give "Ok, Google" or "Alexa" commands? Here, you can consider any form of interaction with personal assistants, whether on mobile or smartwatch, or on dedicated devices, such as Amazon Echo or Google Nest.
Which virtual assistant do you use?
I don't know about you, but I have a preference for brands and services, so my choices are based on my experience with certain brands and products. So my virtual assistants can be boiled down to just two: Google and Amazon. My interaction with Siri is almost insignificant when compared to Google Assistant and Alexa.
I try to integrate Google Assistant into my daily life in the least intrusive way possible, so many of my experiences with the service end up being limited, especially on mobile, while Alexa, which is not installed on my smartphone, for example, ends up being limited to automation or search routines. And both services contribute to making my home smarter.
In a very particular way, Alexa today delivers a more natural conversation experience, whereas Google Assistant leans sometimes more towards the machine side, performing actions only. However, that doesn't mean that I really have a preference for one or the other, they both have a relevant function for me.
However, in a survey released by eMarketer in February 2020, Alexa, present in Amazon's smart speakers, appears as dominant in one of the largest markets in the world, the United States. According to the analyst firm's estimates, this year Amazon Echo will be the brand of choice for 70% of all smart speaker owners in the US. In other words, there's very little left for Google, Apple and other companies of that pie.
So my next question is regarding your preferences: between Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, Bixby and Cortana, who do you stick with?
What do you do with your virtual assistant?
Finally, I would still like to know for what purposes you use and interact with a personal assistant: research, home automation, consumption of news and other media, for family entertainment or even to send messages while driving?
As always, I would like to thank in advance all the people who will participate in this survey and share ideas in the comments. I wish each and everyone a great weekend and set up a meeting on Monday to reveal and analyze the results of this poll.