Digital personal assistants – not ready for Downunder

We keep reading abouTalking to Sirit the wonders of personal assistants on our personal devices. Google Now for Android and Siri for iOS. Speak to these assistants and you get a spoken or text reply that tells you what the weather is up to or when the next train to San Jose leaves – and how long it will take you to get to the station. You can ask it to start apps. And so on.

The system appears to work reasonably well in America, though sometimes I wonder how much of what we read is wishful thinking from Google, Apple and techie types. I’ve yet to see articles about Joe and Jill Bloggs habitually using it in the wild.

Google NowVoice recognition by personal assistants works poorly in the Antipodes and I’ve yet to come across anyone down this way who uses it regularly. Most just run it once or twice for laughs, then give up on it.

Just now I asked Google Now to ‘load Zite’. Not once did the app start, but I was offered some exciting  interpretations:

Lorde site

Lolitas art

Logo design

Load droid

Largest site

Large site

Largest slide

Largest sword

Lodos art

Lowes art

Download site


Love is art

Hello design

I had the feeling I could have carried on all day, getting something different each time.

This was bad enough, but Google Now is generally reckoned to work better than Siri! American reviewers seem to think so. But maybe Siri does a better job with Noo Zild? I can’t tell, since my ancient first generation iPad doesn’t do Siri.

I may not have the clearest diction in New Zealand, but I don’t think I’m too bad and I don’t have a strong Kiwi accent. I tried to issue the command the same way each time.

Epic fail.

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2 Responses to Digital personal assistants – not ready for Downunder

  1. Bill Bennett says:

    These things never work for me either. I put it down to having a NZ-flavoured UK accent. On the whole I have more success wtth Apple than with Google but we talking about ‘rarely works’ as opposed to ‘almost never works’.

  2. Fred Frazier says:

    Sorry you guys are being left out. It really is convenient. The accent has to be the problem. I use Google Now…via the ubiquitous ‘OK Google’ chant, from anywhere while using my Android tablet or phone, and nearly always get ‘spot on’ accurate recognition. It isn’t always lightning fast, but it nearly always gets it right.

    Same thing goes for just plain dictation when composing an email or texting, for example. Sure there are a few words that get ‘corrected’ and need to be ‘re-corrected’ back to what you really wanted (loads of wonderfully funny posts online about those!), but considering the incredible amount of time that is saved by dictation in the first place, there’s plenty of time left to scan/correct prior to hitting that Send button. Lynn has pretty much the same success rate as I do, and might use it even more than I do, since she isn’t a Swype keyboard fan like I am.

    I probably Swype 50% of the time…. dictate 40% of the time…and type one-key-at-a-time 10% of the time.

    Maybe try doing your best John Wayne impression and see if it starts working for you.

    Cocoa, FL

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