When Siri launched on iOS, it was the hottest topic in the tech world. Google’s voice search, soon caught up with (and overtook) Siri. However, Google Now was never really as interactive as Siri, which can be both a good thing and a bad – case in point: Siri can sometimes be too talkative, which has made it the subject of a number of rants, all over the internet. So, if you want a Siri-like virtual assistant on your Android device, here are 5 Siri alternatives that you can try:
1. Google Assistant
Google debuted the Google Assistant with their messaging app “Allo”. Then, it was integrated deeply with Android 7.1 on the Google Pixel, and Pixel XL. Obviously, the phones have a lot more going for them, but the Assistant was the talking point, and for good reason. The Google Assistant is quite simply the best assistant out there. It easily beats Siri, in every way possible. Google Assistant can easily handle simple queries about the weather, and the time – that’s obvious. However, it blazes through context based queries, and performs some of the best context switching I have ever seen.
You can also use Google Assistant to set reminders, call or text people, and much more. All the bells and whistles that you would expect from a smart assistant are there in Google Assistant. You can use it to control your Android device’s system settings (brightness, Bluetooth, etc), and the voice feedback is very natural. So natural, in fact, that you will wonder how they did it. Kudos to Google for a job well done.
Google Assistant is currently only available for Google Pixel devices, but you can use a workaround to get it on almost any Android device running Nougat. Until it becomes available for other devices, you can use Google Now, which is almost as good as Google Assistant, and works flawlessly.
Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual assistant, which has been available on Android for quite some time now. There are two versions of the assistant available on the Play Store – the release version, and an early access beta version. Cortana’s voice recognition works very well, and the assistant can easily pull up weather results for you. However, it didn’t seem to want to get the time for me. If I asked it to “Tell me the time”, it would simply run a Bing search, and come up with some videos, and stuff I don’t care about.
It’s not all bad news, though. The assistant can easily set reminders, call people, and send text messages. It even does context based searches, however, it can only remember context up to one level. Honestly, I would normally be okay with one level of context, but Google Assistant has set the bar way too high, now.
Cortana can’t check on, or change system settings on your Android device, so you won’t be able to use it to change the brightness of your screen, or check on Bluetooth, and other settings. The voice feedback from Cortana is good enough, though not quite as natural as Google’s.
Download Cortana on the Play Store (Free)
Previously known as SpeakToIt Assistant, the Assistant has a great accuracy while recognizing speech. It can fetch weather results, and tell you the time. The weather results support context, so you can ask “What’s the weather like?”, and then ask “and what about tomorrow?”, and Assistant knows what you mean. Points for that, because Cortana can’t handle that.
It can also set reminders for you, call people, and send text messages if you ask it to. However, (and this surprised me) it didn’t seem to support context based queries. That was weird, because it certainly understood context when I was talking about weather. The Assistant can’t control system settings, and the voice feedback is extremely artificial.
Download Assistant on the Play Store (Free)
4. Indigo Virtual Assistant
Another virtual assistant with great voice recognition capabilities – the Indigo Virtual Assistant can easily handle weather, and time related queries. Unlike Cortana, it even understands context based weather queries. Cortana should really catch up on that.
Indigo Virtual Assistant can set up reminders for you, and it can call people, or send text messages, if you ask it to, which is good. Funnily enough, the assistant does not seem to support context, at all. It’s funny, because once again, it supports context in weather related queries. Weird.
I didn’t really expect it to, but the assistant can control brightness, and other system settings for you. So, more points for that. We’ve officially crossed the line into assistants with really terrible voice feedback, and the extremely artificial voice feedback in Indigo is something I wish they worked a bit more on.
Download Indigo Virtual Assistant on the Play Store (Free)
Utter is another virtual assistant that you can use on your Android devices. It has decent-enough accuracy with recognizing speech, and got my speech right, almost 90% of the time, which isn’t bad at all, but it’s not as good as the others on this list. Utter can get the weather for you, and tell you the time. However, it won’t do context based weather searches for you.
You can’t use Utter to set reminders, but you can use it to call people, or send text message. Also, it does not support context based queries, and isn’t able to control system settings for your Android device. The voice feedback provided by the assistant is also very artificial, and not at all good to hear, a problem made only worse by Utter, because it doesn’t show the results on the screen. It only speaks them out.
Download Utter on the Play Store (Free)
Want Siri for Android? Check out these alternatives
While Siri is not available for Android, and it probably never will, these virtual assistants can get the job done. Google Assistant, in fact, is actually way better than Siri has ever been. If it could be deeply integrated into iOS, I would happily trade Siri for Google Assistant on my iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t allow apps to do that.
So, what are your thoughts on the current state of virtual assistants? Who do you think is winning the war of the AI powered virtual assistants. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.