Yesterday, Amazon announced Echo, a Bluetooth speaker slash voice-controlled personal assistant, an omnipresent Siri that sits in your living room and answers whatever questions you might throw at it. So, clearly, Amazon thinks that voice control is cool enough to warrant a standalone product. I’m just wondering who actually uses the damn thing.
Despite having had Siri a button-press away ever since I got an iPhone 4S shortly after launch, voice control’s never really been a feature I use much. In fact, the only situation I think I ever consistently use it is asking Google Now to convert units while I’m cooking and my hands are covered in stuff — and that’s a pretty niche scenario.
While Echo looks kinda neat (and maybe there’s a place for it in the corner of my kitchen), I still think voice control is too finicky and not quite perfect enough to be a reliable means of interacting with things. There’s definitely a little excited futuristic buzz on the rare occasion when I ask my phone a question from across the room and it gets things right the first time.
But that’s totally offset by the dozens of other failures, or more annoyingly, the times that some completely unrelated word will activate Siri and Google Now. As such, I mostly just lump voice control in along with gesture capture and fingerprint sensors and other inventions inspired by sci-fi that don’t really do anything practical.
On the other hand, I’m well aware that maybe it’s just my bad British accent, or the patronising tone in my voice that Siri doesn’t respond nicely to. Maybe I’m doing this all wrong. Maybe voice control is the centre of your life, a vital function you can’t do without. Sound off below!