Do You Actually Use Voice Control?

Do You Actually Use Voice Control?

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!



    Use it constantly when in the car. Only occasionally when not in car.

      Actually used Cortana yesterday to respond to a text absolutely freaked the wife out. She was super impressed.

    I only use it to tell my phone to dial people when I'm in the car, nothing else, it's a useless gimmick.

      You just said you use it and the called it useless. You literally contradicted yourself in the space of two sentences.

    Voice recognition is a long way from being reliable/ useful in my opinion.
    In most situations a silent/ private/ reliable means of communication is much preferred.

      I dunno, my car did it very well in 2010. It could call numbers or anyone in my address book and was good at taking dictation for SMS replies. And that was all without having the cloud to help.

    Never. As far as I'm concerned it's unnecessary wank.

    In the car or on my motorbike. More necessary than the unnecessary wank of texting whilst driving or riding

      I don't use my phone when I'm driving period. If I need to make a call or send a text, I do that crazy pull over thing.

      Last edited 10/11/14 1:07 am

        Yeah, on a two-lane stretch of the Bruce Highway, in the middle of the bush, where you're practically hitting trees ON the road.

          I have hit a tree on a highway at 70 - 100 this year. I've become incredibly aware of the dangers of being distracted while driving. It is not a pleasant feeling.

          I walked away miraculously without a scratch (impact on drivers side door). I was also amazed that every car (and a passing ambulance) stopped to see if I was alight. Even a semi was slowing down until we gave him a thumbs up and waved him on.

          For the record I was not using my phone when that accident occurred. But I quickly associated it with dangerous distraction. I miss that car. =(

            If I can ask, what was the distraction? The average motorist seems to have no idea how easy it can be to be fatally distracted. (Fatal Distraction would be a much better campaign than "get your hand off it".) I find that even using hands-free is too distracting on a crowded road and every day you see how slow many sheeple are in responding to traffic. As a sometime cyclist, it's terrifying.

          I'm pretty sure he's talking about places where he might actually have reception and where a timely response might be required.

    Is often faster than typing a search. I also use it to call the missus, sometimes send a text or open a web page, and often use it for navigation.

    Missus uses it religiously as it's incredibly accurate for her. I can't even get it to understand a single word I say

    Use siri to make reminders and alarms on my phone..
    "Remind me tomorrow to do this when I get home/or time"
    Works pretty good/fast.

    I regularly use it for setting timers and alarms as well as asking questions that I know will search inside Wolfram Alpha. Also on occasion for voice dialling or sending a short message.

    VoiceAttack! Can't live without it in pc games! (ps. not affiliated with voice attack)

    Hardly ever use Siri (perhaps if I get a new bluetooth for the car that supports it, that may change).

    I do however tend to use some of the voice controls through the Kinect on my Xbox One (mainly turning it on and off).

    Agree though that it is more of a gimmick than a useful tool as yet.

    I use Google Now frequently for reminders, and to do web searches on long phrases (song lyrics, for example) that I couldn't be bothered to type. I find it very accurate, and very rarely get anything other than the desired result. It's also handy for starting a voice call while driving.

    My wife tried to do the exact same operations using the same phone, and it very rarely translates her voice correctly. So it's certainly not perfect yet.

    I use Google Now a lot for texting because my large phone makes it hard to type one handed if the other is occupied. It's a feature I don't use to the fullest but I think it's worth having for certain people and situations. Lots of my on the road business friends use it non-stop. Some people in the comments think it's a wank which fair enough but I know lots of people who can't live without it.

    I use it (Cortana) when riding my horse; use left hand to steer and right hand for stockwhip. Works really well.

    i used it the other day, creatingn an appointment in my calendar, it was bright and windy outside, and was helping my grandfather in the car, it picked it up right away, easily and made it for me.

    was awesome!.
    i also use it if i need to wake up earlier the next day "wake me up at 5 tomorrow morning"

    wp8.1 cortana

    I use the "OK Google" finance for searches all the time, but that's pretty much it.

    When I used to have a Windows Phone, I would use Cortana all the time while driving. Cortana works really well! Now I have an Iphone and find Siri to be useless. Not once has Siri recognised my command.

    I have found Google Now to work quite well for simple tasks like asking it to dial someone or navigate to somewhere but responding to texts is a waste of time, it cannot deal with the Australian accent.

    Something that disappoints me about it is that it doesn't work with my music player app. It would be great if there was more support for third party apps. It surely couldn't be too hard to implement...

    If I say "play music" currently it just does a google search for those words.

    Last edited 11/11/14 8:31 am

    Google Now is the shit. I use it constantly because I find the accuracy rate to be very high, and 'cause my phone is almost unwieldy big.

    Some stuff I use it for daily:

    Setting a timer for a pizza in the oven or for pick up.

    Setting a quick reminder to get milk on the way home.

    Calling a contact or dictating a SMS.

    Dictating a search string, especially a long one, and refining it quickly.

    Opening an app

    Converting units and calculating arithmetic.

    Checking facts and having results read back.

    Impressing/amusing random bystanders. I do all this stuff without thinking now, and I usually get some reaction.

    I use Siri all the time. For everything. Using the apple ear bud button, I rarely take my phone out of my pocket for menial tasks.

    I'll have her read, reply and send messages, check the weather, do math, make calls, update Facebook statuses, calendar entries, set alarms, ask general trivia, .......Siri is awesome and if you think otherwise, you're just not utilising her well enough. It's truly an amazing time and it constantly blows me away.,

    I use Siri a fair bit... Especially now with having "Hey Siri".

    On my bedside table, I ask Siri to turn on my alarms and to check the weather for the day.

    But I have assigned Text to Voice to triple click and when I am listening to music in the car or whilst running, I get all of my notifications read to me. It's great for deciding if I need to stop what I am doing, or ignore it.

    I'm excited for Echo... Although not sure if we'll ever see it in Australia?

    Dunno if it's just because I switched to iphone, but it's been 2 weeks and I've almost used Siri more than I ever used google now. Good for skipping songs, searching the app store, opening apps, reminders, controlling phone settings and lonely conversations.

    Google now hardly ever understood a thing I said without me yelling so it was only useful for alarms.

    Last edited 15/11/14 12:54 pm

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