Whenever people discuss digital voice assistants, the conversation usually ends with the Google Assistant triumphing over Apple's Siri. I haven't owned an iOS device since I sold my childhood iPod Touch, but earlier this summer, I took the plunge and bought an iPhone 11 to see what I'd been missing — and to check out Siri's smarts for myself. It's much better than I expected, and in fact, there is at least one area where Siri makes the Google Assistant look like an off-key cover band: music.
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Unless you've been forcibly avoiding the news, you know iOS 14 is now a thing. But if you don't use an iPhone (or maybe even if you do), you might not have bothered checking out what was new in Apple's latest mobile operating system. But as fail to be basically every year we watch the WWDC keynote, no one on the Android Police was surprised to have one recurring thought: "hey, that feature looks familiar." Apple apparently felt very inspired by Android in the last year, and iOS 14 has a whole bunch of "world-first" innovations to show you that—very coincidentally!—also
Back in 2017, researchers in China reported on a clever way to access a digital assistant, like Google Assistant or Siri, by using inaudible ultrasonic sound waves. Now a new team at Washington University in St. Louis have been working on similar technology, and their version is even more capable (and scary) than the original.
Modern "smart" home standards have more than a few dumb things about them, like the fact that certain hardware often locks you into a specific ecosystem of supported devices and software. If something works with Alexa, it doesn't always mean that it will work with the Assistant or Siri, and that's not even mentioning the whole obnoxiousness of "hubs." Thankfully, a new open standard is being developed by some of the biggest names in the smart home industry, with Amazon, Apple, and Google all backing a new open-source approach via the imaginatively titled "Project Connected Home over IP." It's a complicated-sounding name, but what really matters is the fact that future smart home products will be more inter-compatible and secure.
YouTube Music is slowly spreading its tentacles and establishing itself as Play Music's successor. While the service still lacks many essential features for some users, it's good enough for others. Its most recent addition is Siri support on iOS — while Android integration with Assistant is still iffy.
Google Voice is quite a convenient service letting you call and text internationally for cheap. It's even a proper phone line replacement for some. There's one thing that we've been waiting for the service to implement forever, though: using your voice to initiate a ... Voice call. That's changing, but only if you have an iPhone or an iPad: In a collective slap in the faces of Android and Nest users, you can now talk to Siri to make calls or send text messages through Google's service.
Voice assistants make our lives easier for the most part. Instead of having to get up to turn on the lights, we can simply ask them to do it for us. Similarly, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa allow you to call businesses via voice, with no need to input a phone number anywhere. There are risks associated with blindly calling unknown numbers, though. According to the Better Business Bureau, some scammers have apparently gamed Google and Amazon's phone number ranking systems. Unsuspecting users could end up talking to an imposter instead of the desired business.
When Amazon upended the publishing industry with the advent of the Kindle, it also paved the way for an approach to luring consumers into a larger sphere of influence, a strategy that is now being successfully adapted for the new age of smart speakers and digital assistants. Both the Kindle and the Echo provide consumers with valuable services, encouraging them to shop and receive content within Amazon's ecosystem. Most of the experiences of its Kindle and Echo hardware also come in the form of apps or services that appear on other manufacturers' devices without additional charge to the consumer, making that connection even stronger.
With CES about to swing into gear, and Google apparently gearing up for a personal assistant blitz at the event, we've been thinking pretty hard about how Google Assistant has integrated itself into our lives.
Ignoring a few small hardware snafus, Google's solution has become an indispensable tool for many of us. But, it isn't the only personal assistant game in town. Samsung's Bixby has a following of its own, and Apple's Siri is built into MacBooks and iOS devices. There's also always Amazon's Alexa elephant in the room. So, we're curious, which one do you prefer?
Cracks fingers. Alright, here we go again, another deal, another post. You can do it, Rita.
Look, I know most of you are just about done with Black Friday, but we do what we do because there are always a few persons who are interested in this deal, as opposed to that deal which others found more appealing. We're here for all. But it's tough to make these posts interesting, especially when the discount is relatively so tiny. Then I remember that Sonos nearly never discounts anything and when it does, it's just as abysmal as the deals today, so here goes...