All too often, we hear someone boasting about the fun functionality behind the Siri personal assistant for the Apple iPhone. For Android users, this is annoying.
And this isn't just because we have Google Now. It's frustrating because unlike those iPhone users, we actually have a lot of choice when it comes to which personal assistant apps we use. In this article, I'll explore the default Google option, along with some of the best rated personal assistant apps from the Google Play Store.
To make this as fair as possible, I've assigned key tasks to each service. These tasks are: 1) send a text, 2) give me directions and 3) set appointments. I chose these tasks as they're the most common.
Google Now – Google Now is the default assistant for Android devices. It's fairly easy to use, even for the novice. With Google Now enabled, I then asked the following questions.
Skyvi – Skyvi tries pretty hard to feel natural to use. And it certainly differs in terms of interface from Google Now. With Skyvi installed and enabled, I then asked the following questions.
The biggest issue with the free version of Skyvi was the banner popping up asking me if I wanted to remove the ads. Additionally, Skyvi is able to read your text messages aloud, which is neat. However after the first few times I found this distracting.
Robin – When I installed Robin, I instantly felt like this app was better maintained than Skyvi. With this positive outlook in mind, I began asking my key questions for the app to respond to.
No only did this app fail to deliver, it also shot me off to a Google Play page and plugged another related app. Since Robin clearly isn't up to the job, maybe my phone was trying to rescue me? Still, if you only want to use this to make calendar reminders, then perhaps this is the app for you.
Indigo Virtual Assistant – As I installed Indigo for the first time, it immediately asked me which speech engine I wanted to use. This appealed to me, as the other apps didn't ask me this. Unfortunately this is where the happiness ended. After making my selection, I was then asked to register for an account. The registration page then goes on to ask me for the usual pertinent information, including my date of birth. That last one rubbed me the wrong way. It's none of their business and so obviously, I lied during registration. After I finished my registration, I was pleasantly surprised when the app told me aloud when my next appointment was. Now it's time to ask my usual queries and see if it can stand up to Google Now.