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From Alexa to Cortana: virtual assistant features that consumers love

November 15, 2018

Much like a CEO hiring a real-life personal assistant, choosing a virtual assistant is exactly that—personal. Is it compatible with your lifestyle? Does it play nice with your preferred technology? Most importantly—will it mess up your pizza order?

When it comes to virtual assistants, like all technology, consumers are fervently divided. Some insist on remaining loyal to brands and operating systems they know and love, while others want features that are most important to them (media, connecting to a smart home, calendar management, calling an Uber, etc.)

Here’s our virtual assistant breakdown 

Alexa

Brought to you by: Amazon via the Amazon Echo and a growing list of other devices

Manifested as: voice-controlled speaker fitted with multiple microphones and beam technology

Consumers love using it to: order pizza or an Uber, track fitness, ask if Kirk Douglas is still alive, control the TV, call and message friends (or “drop in” for an instant conversation), play music via Wi-Fi, dim the lights to watch Netflix … and chill

Its yearbook superlative would be: Most likely to send your boss a recording of you fighting with your spouse because you accidently triggered the wake word 

Cortana

Brought to you by: Microsoft

Manifested as: software available for Windows, iOS, Android and a growing list of devices

Consumers love using it to: work seamlessly across devices and calendars, track packages, get answers from Bing, navigate around traffic based on schedules, tell better jokes than any other assistant, get spot-on reminders based on people, current location or time

Its yearbook superlative would be: Best sense of humor

Google Assistant

Brought to you by: Google

Manifested as: software available primarily on mobile and smart home devices, including the Google Home speaker

Consumers love using it to: research anything as if you’re googling from your desktop, share videos, make reservations, group chat with Google Allo, quickly send texts and set reminders, act as a virtual travel planner, check flight statuses

Its yearbook superlative would be: Most likely to pick your next vacation for you

Siri

Brought to you by: Apple

Manifested as: software in Apple OS-enabled devices

Consumers love using it to: set reminders because technology has atrophied our brains, check traffic and get directions (while still refusing to admit being lost), get news and sports updates, call and text friends, play music, change Siri’s voice if the original voice reminds you of your mother in law

Its yearbook superlative would be: Most popular