Voice recognition software has come on leaps and bounds since it was first introduced on clunky beige boxes that ran the likes of Windows 98 and XP. Now, our smartphones – and even our watches – are hundreds of times more accurate than those early pieces of software. Google has been pushing voice recognition software for years now, since the old “Voice Actions” feature of Android 2.2 FroYo. Of course, since then we’ve seen Apple launch Siri, the know-it-all personal assistant and Google launch Google Now, a mix of both assistant and a super-fast portal to Google’s info. Microsoft has been edging into the market with Cortana – which is now available on some Android smartphones – but the question remains the same, which of these do people use the most?
In a report from Park Associates, titled “360 View: Mobility and the App Economy” researchers found that just 39% of all smartphone users used some sort of voice recognition software. This increased to 48% when looking at users aged between 18 and 24, but it’s clear that voice recognition is still something users are wary of, say when compared to using a mobile browser or online maps, for instance. It would appear that Siri is currently being exploited more than Google Now, as around 55% use Siri but just roughly 30% use voice recognition on Android. This could be down to a lot of factors, but it’s interesting to learn that from 2013 to 2015 the use of Siri on the iPhone grew from 40% to 52%, which is a decent jump for a feature that still makes some users feel uncomfortable. On the Google side of things, Now is not just a walky-talky assistant and instead offers up information to the user without even asking for it, as well as offering voice recognition services.
As voice recognition now plays a big part in wearables, with Android Wear and the Apple Watch sporting microphones, it appears more people are becoming comfortable with talking to their devices. However, it still remains an uncomfortable thing for many to do in public and no matter how many promotional videos show us, it’s rare for us to find someone opening talking to their wrist or their smartphone.