Now Google may be the most important product of Google in years. So said Antonio Ortiz almost two years ago on his personal blog, and can you not lack reason. Since then it has become an increasingly ambitious product that has been equated to Siri options to overcome them.

Because Google Now going beyond that spoken responses engine has become a service that knows what we need even before we need it. The market wizards voice is very interesting with the arrival of Cortana, the Microsoft bet, but who has the greatest chance to face the future?

TechPlaying the questions and answers

Siri would be a surprise by Apple, the October 4, 2011 presented his assistant voice as one of the distinguishing features of iOS 5 and iPhone 4S those. Three years after its release last week it was satisfied that third anniversary – we are in a market in which all major platforms-including BlackBerry, with a product yet to be discovered – has its own voice assistant.

Because the idea of ​​Siri was fantastic. Power set appointments, send messages to contacts or ask some generic questions at that time was something that raised a debate on the new capabilities of these mobile devices become small HAL9000 potential.

Of course, the launch of Siri sparked fenómento attendants voice. Google launched less than a year after Google Now, and do so with a much more ambitious approach. Although this service was initially aimed at meeting the ballot to match Siri and not let Android users the option orphans, soon showed that Google Now things could go further.

That’s where this obsession that has Google to capture interaction data that the user does with their devices, applications and services comes into play. Any information that we give that huge so quietly We left for another day the discussion versus privacy convenience- used exemplarily in Google Now, reading our emails and calendar to tell us we have to catch a plane or going beyond, the case when we do not we forget the umbrella, because our destiny is raining. The information goes beyond information.

And in these Microsoft also preparing his move. Cortana is the unique name of the voice assistant that came with Windows Phone 8.1, and the idea of the proposed Microsoft is positioned more along the lines of Google Now in the Siri. Microsoft limits the information that feeds the call Cortana Notebook or notebook, which can include location data, reminders and contacts that give access to Cortana to integrate its intelligence and try to deduce important information.

Microsoft Research Labs and demonstrated the potential of integrating Bing Cortana: the search engine giant made ​​use of a database and a unique prediction engine which among other things managed to guess the winners of 15 of 16 matches the final round of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil-now are testing it successfully in the NFL- and that prediction could also be applied to daily use we do on our phones.

Which is better?

The performance of each of these participants have shown an interesting way to grow over the months, but it seems clear that Google Now has been shown more ambition in their latest iterations.

Apple has not been standing with Siri, iOS in August has arrived with new features such as support HomeKit, recognition of songs via Shazaam or support for 22 additional languages. However critical topics as the absence of an API for developers or miss OS X, a choice of which we speak later.

Meanwhile, Cortana also offers outstanding features in the latest edition, as the active listening that mimics the ability of the original X-Moto, but the ambition of this wizard is closely related to the desktop.

It is difficult to assess which of these assistants will perform better, but some comparative attempt to answer that question. In July he appeared -quite such limited study, yes- Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, which pitted Google Now with Siri and had concluded that the engine Google Now was slightly higher than Siri: the session raised questions answered Google Now 84% of the time well, 82% of Siri.

More recent is the result of Stone Temple Consulting , which included Cortana in this comparative and Now Google made ​​it clear that it was much more efficient and accurate in answering questions, but also more complete, providing more information to try to complete the response. The study took into account issues such as singular fact that the very formulation of the question-even seeking the same result-that attendees can voice right or wrong answer, but in that comparison did not take into account the capabilities Additional Google Now that allow us to send automatic notifications to calendar events, for example.

Special mention of course all these parallel developments of third parties, that are not included in these comparisons but also have the potential to win over users. And here it is impossible not to mention the Spanish Project Sherpa and others like Dragon Mobile Assistant, Indigo , Viv -from engineers who were involved in the development of Siri or attempts giants like Yahoo! are doing in this section. In all these cases the problem is that the platforms leverage the integration with the application ecosystem, which are more difficult all these proposals.

Until the desk … and beyond

Although all these solutions were born as part of its mobile platforms, performance can be exploited beyond tablets or smartphones. The natural break attendants voice is that of desktop operating systems, and in fact we are already seeing inroads in that regard.

Google has been the moment that is trying to influence this area, and for several months has the virtues of Google Now in your Google Chrome browser and, of course, in Chrome OS. The interface of the “Google cards” that appear on the mobile is also transferred to your browser on your PC or laptop, and certainly is an interesting way to exploit these advantages in a regular work session.

Seems even more interesting future Cortana in Windows. Although during the recent launch of Windows 10 Microsoft did not give details on the subject, there are many rumors about the future integration of Cortana on this operating system will appear in about a year. According to these leaks, Microsoft, and have a preliminary version of this integration, and the clear commitment to convergence in philosophy One Windows is quite clear that the voice assistant will have a prominent role in Windows 10.

Meanwhile, Siri does not seem to want to bet on the desktop now. In Apple have taken an important step in the convergence of the ecosystem that workflow we can move from iOS 8 to OS X 10.10 Yosemite (or vice versa) by Continuity and Handoff, but Siri will not be time feature OS X . That’s right: there is already an Apple patent that seems to define this possibility in the future, so do not rule out that option at all.

The advent of wearable devices also poses a particularly promising future for these assistants voice. In fact, smart watches that seem to be one of the greatest technological revolutions of the next few months could take this kind of interaction as the protagonist. Now Google and Siri make much sense based on smartwatches Wear and Watch Android OS-the operating system still present in the describer Apple Watch. Cortana site does not seem to point in that market -Microsoft spoke of wearables at your event on Windows 10, but without promising smart watches or other devices-, but it does, for example in the Xbox 360 console and Xbox One who could benefit Also this tool as a complement to voice commands that can be executed via Kinect.

Conclusions

There is probably a big deal to advance attendants voice: self-education of users, who must “re-learn” certain concepts to take advantage of this technology. Although recognition of natural language is remarkable in these solutions, the fact of speaking to the mobile, the computer or the clock is looking for many more typical of movies or television series of our daily reality.

Yet these applications seem increasingly promising both for their benefits-each more ambitious, especially in the case of Google Now- as for the scenarios that could be integrated soon.

It may not be long before we become active users of a technology that is here to stay and in focus seems to be the response to a clear need for interaction that arises in the future: nursing, arriving wearables and Internet of Things.