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Siri, Alexa and Other Virtual Assistants Put to the Test

MULTIZ321

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Siri, Alexa and Other Virtual Assistants Put to the Test - by Brian X. Chen/ Personal Tech/ International New York Times/ The New York Times/ nytimes.com

"WHEN I asked Alexa earlier this week who was playing in the Super Bowl, she responded, somewhat monotonously, “Super Bowl 49’s winner is New England Patriots.”

“Come on, that’s last year’s Super Bowl,” I said. “Even I can do better than that.”

At the time, I was actually alone in my living room. I was talking to the virtual companion inside Amazon’s wireless speaker, Echo, which was released last June. Known as Alexa, she has gained raves from Silicon Valley’s tech-obsessed digerati and has become one of the newest members of the virtual assistants club.

All the so-called Frightful Five tech behemoths — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google, now part of Alphabet — now offer virtual assistants, which handle tedious tasks in response to voice commands or keystrokes, on various devices. Apple’s Siri is the best known, having been available since 2011, but Microsoft now has Cortana, Facebook is testing one called M, and Google builds its voice assistant into its search apps..."

28techfix-illo-blog427.jpg

Minh Uong/ The New York Times



Richard
 

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I asked Alexa When is the SB?...She said: " SB 50 will be played Feb 7 at 630 pm on CBS..The Broncos play the Panthers" Correct

Google gave same answer
 
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Passepartout

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In the end, people are going to use (and root for) the device they have and get used to.

Here is an excerpt from this week's Alexa update: (forgive the lousy formatting that didn't carry over)

Finding Popular Skills Since we first introduced third-party skills last August, more than 175 have been added including skills from Fidelity, StubHub, Huffington Post, and more. In addition to searching for skills, you can now sort them by average customer review, newest arrivals, or alphabetically. Simply open the Alexa App, tap "Skills" from the menu, and sort based on what you are looking for.

Looking for a new skill to try? Here are two of our most popular ones. TV Shows " Alexa, what time is American Idol on?"

Word Master "Alexa, Open Word Master."

My personal use is that I use Alexa when I'm home, and Cortana when I'm out. Unfortunately, my Windows phone doesn't have the Alexa app available, so the shopping and to-do lists from Alexa are of little utility.

Jim
 

WinniWoman

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Not that we go to the movies, but I like that you can ask her what is playing in the are and what times! Great!
 

Sandy VDH

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My Android phone has an Alexa App for it. Wonder why windows won't create one?

I too use my Alexa at home, mostly for Audible book and radio play, but I do ask it weather and other occasional questions.

Honest comparing Alexa to Siri and others is not really apple to apples.

Alexa's strength is having a much better sound quality and volume of audio, not really a comparison to the tablet based speaker systems.
 
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Passepartout

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My Android phone has an Alexa App for it. Wonder why windows won't create one?

Dunno. Probably something to do with them having Cortana, and 'crosstown rival' Amazon being seen as the enemy of Microsoft, and vice versa. Windows Phone having a miniscule market share by Android standards doesn't help.

I can have Cortana make shopping and to-do lists that are in some ways more sophisticated than Alexa's ("Cortana, next time I go by the florist's, remind me to send anniversary flowers to Paula.") causes me to use it instead. Cortana uses logic that allows it to know, using the above example, which florist I use, that Paula is my wife, and that our anniversary is coming up- if 'she' doesn't already know it. Much better than just a list, no?

Jim
 
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