Home Technology How Many Personal Assistants Do You Use/Want To Use?

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by jeremiah256, Oct 1, 2018.

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How Many Personal Assistants Do You Use/Want To Use?

  1. None - I'm not presently interested

    4 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. One - I like to keep it simple

    7 vote(s)
    43.8%
  3. Two - I mix it up a little

    2 vote(s)
    12.5%
  4. Three or More - It's Downton Abbey up in here

    3 vote(s)
    18.8%
  1. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #1
    This is an interest of mine since I want to get more into the Internet of Things (IoT) and want to start off with home and personal automation. I'm no expert on any of the assistants, and hopefully, this thread will provide myself and others who are interested, a way to expand our knowledge.

    At present, I personally use Siri and Google Assistant quite a bit. Siri is my on-the-go hands free assistant for sending messages, getting information and directions, and to activate certain apps, such as music. I'm looking forward to using my basic Workflow skills into playing with the new Shortcuts functionality in iOS 12.

    At home, I use Google Assistant the most. I have a Google Home Mini and the app on my phone. I use Google Assistant, combined with two Chromecasts, for getting information, simple tasks and entertainment. Using voice only, I can access a good portion of my media and use the basic routines the Home Mini provides for when you wake up, come home, and go to bed.

    I presently don't have much of a use case for Cortana or Alexa, but as Amazon almost gives away extremely cheap Alexa devices, and I have Amazon Prime, I can see myself putting one in the kitchen and using it as a cooking/shopping assistant.

    Cortana is a more difficult assistant to integrate. I do use Microsoft Office as my main productivity suite, but using Cortana at work would be awkward, and I don't understand the functionality enough to use it in my home office.

    That said, it seems most people have an issue with mixing personal assistants and I wonder if I'm missing something. In the end, I'm looking at creating something like this:

    Google (Assistant)- Majordomo: Main AI for exploring and interacting with the world
    Apple (Siri) - Valet: Knows your personal wants and needs
    Amazon (Alexa) - Butler: Purchasing and domestic (IoT) assistant
    Microsoft (Cortana) - Secretary: Business/work assistant

    Have I gone mad and on the path to failure and tears of disappointment?
     
  2. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #2
    If personal assistant is a euphemism for cabana girl then I could use a whole lotta PAs!
     
  3. jeremiah256 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #3
    Not the subject of this thread, but it's being worked on...
     
  4. Hater Suspended

    Hater

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #4
    I find all of them frustrating. Cortana and Siri get disabled as soon as I jump on a Windows/MacOS device as they chew up valuable system resources (and my work computer doesn't have a mic anyway)

    I have never used Google Assistant or Alexa, nor do I plan to.
     
  5. jeremiah256 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #5
    Your icon says you're from Scotland and I've heard Siri (don't know about the other assistants) seems to have a hard time with understanding English language accents, Scottish and Irish especially. Is this why they are frustrating?
     
  6. Hater Suspended

    Hater

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #6
    It's annoying because the Siri stuff comes up when I don't want it to if it's not disabled.

    I've never really used it because... I don't see the point. I just don't use my phone in that way.
     
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #7
    Neither do I.

    And a disembodied voice (which is not human) giving advice, instructions or commands drives me nuts.

    Personally, I prefer written instructions, or live human beings offering advice.
     
  8. Matz Contributor

    Matz

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Location:
    Rural Southern Virginia
    #8
    I rarely use Siri. Mostly because I forget it's there.

    But when I do, it's typically on my AW, such as setting a timer for the French press, or giving me directions home when traffic may affect choice of route. I find it easier than hauling the phone out.
     
  9. Lioness~, Oct 2, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018

    Lioness~ macrumors 6502a

    Lioness~

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #9
    None of those. Nor do I have any interest of any of them.
    Tried briefly with Siri, but it is like training a dog ;)

    I was more thinking assistants that actually do something real for me.
    We’ll see in the perfect future.
     
  10. jeremiah256 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    And your phrase, "...do something real for me." may highlight the serious problem with how digital assistants have been presented to the public.

    Most demos I've seen online are very simple and give the impression that assistants are used for very minor duties or duties that can be just as easily done with a remote control. And while those uses are valid, I think it skews the purpose of what assistants can be used for toward the frivolous end of the spectrum.

    While I'm interested in these services, I'm also interested in capabilities that Cortana, for example, is getting, allowing it to be used exactly like you would a secretary or executive assistance. Moving files via voice command. Reserving meeting rooms. Answering emails.

    I've noted, however, from the feedback (thanks all), it seems voice is not a command and control method most are comfortable using.
     
  11. Shanghaichica macrumors G3

    Shanghaichica

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I’d prefer to just use one as it makes it simpler. At the moment I’m using Siri and Alexa on my HomePods and echos.
     
  12. Bazooka-joe macrumors 68020

    Bazooka-joe

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Swindon, England
    #12
    I have 2 homepods, 4 dots, one spot and one echo
     
  13. jeremiah256 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #13
    Maybe it's just me, but with multiple assistants, with different strengths and weaknesses, it helps if I look at the device in order to give the right command to the right assistant. For instance, in the kitchen, both Alexa and Google Assistant have traditionally been the better assistant since Siri cannot set multiple timers. Yet, I'm usually watching media on an Apple device, so I accidentally go to Siri first.

    I live in Japan, and the assistant shown in video below is tailored toward a unique requirement and subculture, but I do think that if assistants had a more 'human' presentation, it would alleviate some of the resistance to 'talking into the ether' that some people have with them.

     
  14. Shanghaichica macrumors G3

    Shanghaichica

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Siri can do multiple timers now!

    I have one of my echos in the kitchen, one in the dining room. In my living room I have 2 HomePods in a stereo pair and a google home mini.

    I agree that they all have their strengths and weaknesses and I usually use each one according to what it’s best at.
     
  15. jeremiah256 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jeremiah256

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #15
    Thanks on updating me about Siri.

    And your setup seems to mirror what I'm building and others have built (including, I presume, @Bazooka-joe), where Amazon Echos seem strongest in the kitchen and dining room, where users can take advantage of Amazon's shopping services, while HomePods and Google Home products seem to dominate the living areas.

    I'm probably going with the Google Home Max over the HomePods since I want the sound from our DVR and XBox to be via a speaker system.
     
  16. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #16

    That is awesome, because it reminds me of an episode of Futurama.
     

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