Okay, we get it. Apple certainly got something going with the premiere of Siri on the iPhone 4S. It may have been regarded as a gimmick at first but as time has further progressed we’re seeing it become an everyday thing and competitors are left scrambling to create their own voice assistants. If you browse the Google Play Store you can find a plethora of Siri imitators who attempt to do the same things but fall short. The biggest shortcoming for these apps are the fact that they’re not integrated into the operating system itself. They’re simply a standalone app that can’t quite reach the same level as other official voice assistants from manufacturers. And this is where Samsung came in with S Voice. They created the first fully fledged voice assistant for Android that was built right into the operating system itself. The problem? It only comes on the Galaxy S III as of now meaning that if you don’t have one then you’re still stuck with the same problem as before.
Enter Google Now.
Google saw this problem coming and the way that it would cause even more fragmentation to Android. So they put on their virtual hard hats and got to work creating Google Now. Now let’s get this straight. Google Now may just be listed as a new search feature but it’s basically a personal assistant for Android that’s baked into Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. You simply drag up from the home button and voila, you’ve got Google Now running. You just tap on the microphone icon in the corner and Google Now is ready to listen to your question and quickly find you an answer. It also does something that neither Siri or S Voice can do and that’s provide you with real time information in the notification bar based on what you’ve been searching or other things such as calendar events. Say you’ve got a dental appointment scheduled for 3:00 p.m. but the traffic turns out bad. Google Now gives you a little notification telling you exactly what time to leave in order to make it on time based on current traffic info. It will also give you things such as your weather in the notification bar if you often search for the weather. Little things but incredibly helpful.
And now the confusion comes into play. What’s going to happen to S Voice and Google Now when Samsung updates the Galaxy S III to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean? The same thing applies to LG and their upcoming Q Voice. What’s going to happen when they incorporate Q Voice into their devices with Jelly Bean? I’ll try to focus on S Voice for this and in my eyes, there are two or three major options that come into play here. First off, they could simply scrap either S Voice or Google Now from the update. Google Now is infinitely faster than S Voice in its current state and also comes up with much more accurate answers in a better layout. Chances are though, Samsung won’t want to ditch its S Voice program so soon in exchange for Google Now. This is where option two shows itself. Samsung could merely leave both on the device and you could choose which would appear when you double tapped the home button. Granted, you’d have to choose between one or the other but it would probably please most users.
And finally, option three. They could merge both programs together into one hybrid mash-up. This could work in a variety of ways with one of them being simply combining both of the search engines into one to one search engine on steroids. Or they could take another route and make it a true Siri competitor. I’m not saying that either of them aren’t competitors because they certainly are. I’m saying that neither of them have quite reached the functionality of Siri. Siri can easily book you movie tickets, text your friends, find you numerous restaurants in your area, and above all, she has a personality. While she (Why am I referring to her as a person now?) may not have the same accuracy and speed as Google Now, she can come up with a witty answer to an unanswerable question or tell you a joke and a whole menagerie of different more human-like things in her, granted, creepy robotic voice. That’s what still sets Siri apart from the rest.
But Samsung and Google could change all of that by having Samsung work on creating a more human aspect to the software while Google continues to work on adding even more functionality. That’s what I mean by a true Siri competitor. Something that blows Siri out of the water and makes her a mere memory in the minds of Google Now users. That’s what Android desperately needs in the voice assistant department.
But enough of my babbling. What do you guys think of the entire situation? Which of the options above would you like to see incorporated? Or maybe you have a different idea that could also work? Give us all of your opinions on the matter in the comments below!