A recent study by the U.K. based Juniper Research Group determined that there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by the year 2023. As this technology improves by leaps and bounds, its many conveniences are being embraced by users of all ages. Conveniently, modern smartphones come with some form of digital assistant, letting you perform countless daily tasks hands-free using simple voice activation.
The first modern digital assistant installed on a smartphone was Siri, which was introduced as a feature of the iPhone 4S in the fall of 2011. Since that time, offerings have grown to include the likes of Google Assistant, and Samsung’s Bixby–voice activated applications which respond to a user’s commands to do things like search the Internet, select and play music, or compose and send messages.
Early adopters were often stymied by the apps inability to recognize certain sounds and speech patterns, resulting in miscommunications and erratic (though often times humorous) outcomes. But in just a few short years, developers have overcome these shortcomings to the point where it’s now possible for digital assistants to perform impressively sophisticated tasks with accuracy and ease. Their capabilities have been refined so much that some can even be programmed to interact with third party software to control things in your home like thermostats, lighting, and security systems.
Digital assistants can be accessed on your smartphone with just a few simple steps:
- Android users can access Google Voice using either the microphone icon on your keyboard or search bar, or by holding down your home key and saying “OK, Google” to get started.
- For smartphones operating on Android 6.0 and above, you have access to the advanced capabilities of Google Assistant, which integrates with all your Google apps to pull everything together with a few simple voice commands. To get started, just press and hold your home key.
- iPhone users are probably already familiar with the friendly voice of Siri. Hold the home key, say “Hey Siri,” and ask her anything. Siri will learn names, your favorite places, and other useful information, so her help becomes uniquely personalized.
- Once you’ve gotten used to using your digital assistant, you can even customize how to access it through your phone’s Settings menu.
If you’re new to using digital voice assistants, or gave up on earlier versions, I highly recommend giving the latest Google Assistant or Siri a try. From waking you up in the morning to turning off your bedside lamp at night, they provide a thousand conveniences to make your smartphone an even more indispensable tool.