Voice
The Voice Age Is Here, and Amazon is Its Master
Scott Rosenberg
261

When computing was getting started all we had was the binary interface. It wasn’t too long before we had the alphanumeric interface which was a huge advancement.

The Mac popularized the graphical interface which was so paramount to human-computer interaction that thirty years later it’s still the primary way that people interact with computers and devices.

Now, the voice interface is being born and I’m confident it will become the most widely used interface ever. Voice and conversational computing change everything.

I’m really into this. I have an Echo/Alexa and a Google Home. I’ve been a heavy user of Google Now voice for 2+ years. I used Siri for a few years, and still chat with her to see how she’s keeping up. And I’ve had a few conversations with Cortana, too.

Based on what I know Alexa isn’t the master of the voice age. That approbation should go to Google.

If you want a voice-controlled way to drain your wallet, Alexa is the clear winner. But If you want the smartest device, Google is far ahead of the rest of the pack.

Yes, Alexa does have a truckload of skills/applets. It has a two-year headstart. But Google is opening Home to developers and I think most of the skills will quickly be ported to Home. And Home has more inherent capabilities which will offer a greater platform for building skills/applets.

Looking at their parents provides evidence of why Google will win. Amazon is the world’s largest retailer, and Alexa is best at being a shopping assistant. Amazon even offers special prices and deals if you order using Alexa.

Google is the world’s leading technology company and has devoted a lot more resources to voice for a lot longer than Amazon.

Google continues to heavily invest heavily in natural language, AI, machine learning, translations, and related technologies. In several of these Google is considered the industry leader.

Amazon’s primary business is selling you stuff. Google’s primary business is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

And that’s why Google Home is way smarter than Alexa, and always will be.

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