Download Google Assistant for Your iPhone During the Holidays
With just three technologies left, Google Assistant for iPhone is the latest addition to Aragon Research’s 12 Technologies of Christmas blog series.
by Betsy Burton
I am drawing attention to this one because the newest release, version 1.7.5105+, enables Google Assistant to be directly accessed from within Siri on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad).
How Smart Does a Smart Assistant Need to Be?
There are a number of debates about which is the smarter assistant, Google, Alexa, Siri or Cortana. A 2018 test showed that Google Assistant recognized more requests and answered those requests correctly.
While this is good news for Google, it is important to recognize that these vendors are continually enhancing and evolving their AI capabilities, especially Amazon and Google—and will likely leapfrog each other as they continue to evolve.
More About Connectivity Than Smarts
The reality is smart assistants are relatively new technologies. As such, people’s expectations for how smart an assistant needs to be are evolving. In other words, users are a bit forgiving of smart assistants because they are learning how to use them and take advantage of the capabilities as AI technologies evolve.
The most significant issue today is more about the devices it connects to. And in this regard, Amazon and Google have put much more investment into introducing and integrating with a wide variety of devices (lighting, cameras, thermometers, security, hubs etc.).
We believe that this is both a practical reality and a strategy on the part of Google and Amazon. They are first and foremost focused on creating and connecting to as many devices as they can, in order to become integrated into our home and work life. And then they can continue to evolve the capabilities of their assistants. New additions will include capabilities like multi-lingual and voice-to-text features, etc.
The problem for iOS users is that they are stuck with Siri as the native smart assistant which in turn limits their access to a large number of devices. Users could access Google or Amazon devices through their apps on the iOS, but neither of these assistants were integrated as a native assistant.
Using Google Assistant in Place of Siri
This latest version of the Google Assistant app for the iPhone enables users to access Google Assistant through Siri, therefore by-passing Siri. It is still a little clumsy, but it does allow voice commands to the Google Assistant from your iOS system.
When you first install the latest version of the Google app on your iOS system, you will get a message asking if you want to add “Ok Google” as a shortcut for Siri. If this capability is turned on, users can say “Hey Siri, ok Google” and the Google Assistant will come up rather than Siri. This enables users to send voice commands to their Google devices directly on their iOS device.
When I first tried this new installation, I missed the integration message. If you do this, I found out that I had to delete the app and try it again in order to get the shortcut integration message. So, during the install, don’t miss that message or you’ll have to redo the install.
Is Your Google Assistant Free?
The Google app is free in terms of monetary payment, and most of the devices are reasonably priced. As such, it is very easy to integrate Google’s advisor and apps into our lives via thousands of devices.
The price you are paying is that Google is gathering data/information about you—what temperature your house is, when you turn it on, how you run your dishwasher and coffee machine. There have also been reports of Google employees listening to conversations via Google assistant and of hackers using devices to get into your home and work systems.
Even if you appreciate that sharing your data means your assistant can deliver more customized responses, events, and advertising, users must understand that they are paying for using services by sharing their daily personal data, seeing advertising, and buying additional enhanced services.
Digital assistants are a new reality in many households to varying degrees. Be it turning on lights or security, companies are increasingly creating products and services to make your life more digital.
The latest version of Google Assistant is a step forward in integrating millions of iOS devices into the Google world. However, users must be aware it is an early version, and there are still several integration issues that need to be worked out (including integration with different calendars, email, etc.). It is also clearly not the native voice assistant for iOS devices as users still need to go through Siri to get to Google.
Hey Siri, ok Google, what is a turtle dove?