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Mace & Crown | November 22, 2017

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The Many Voices of Talking Phones

The Many Voices of Talking Phones

Audra Reigle
Contributing Writer

Voice recognition is not just for iPhones and other Apple devices. Users can also find voice recognition on Androids, Windows Phones and even through devices Amazon has released. Voice control, which allows people to ask questions or make phone calls without having to go into the internet or phone apps, is meant to change how we think of computers.

Talking to a computer in the past may have been a weird, unusual idea. Why would anyone do it? Computers couldn’t talk back, after all. Nowadays, it’s more common to see a person talking to their phone, asking where the nearest pizza place is so that they can get lunch.

It’s becoming so common that it’s going to become one of the main ways people interact with computers. It’s called ambient computing, and it involves a robotic assistant, like Siri, to do whatever it’s asked to do, whether it’s answering a question for the user or giving an event reminder.

Amazon has introduced Echo, a device that sits wherever one wants it to be, the kitchen or the bedroom or anywhere else, and does what it’s asked to do. Think Siri, but instead of it being on a phone, it’s a stationary, cylindrical device.

It wakes up when one says “Alexa: and can also turn on the lights, play bingo and keep up with multiple calendars. The addition of being able to check multiple calendars is a newer feature that can be enabled through the Alexa app.

Cortana is the Windows Phone equivalent of Siri that made her debut with the release of Windows 8.1. She’s powered through Bing, and is more or less just like Siri in the things that she can do. She can even find news that she thinks you’ll be interested in.

However, she works best when she’s given more information about the user. The more information the user gives, the more she can help the user out.

Google Now is the voice recognition software for Android users. Like its iOS, Amazon and Windows counterparts, Google Now does the same things that Siri, Alexa and Cortana do.

It was released in 2012 with Android’s Jelly Bean update. Instead of the user speaking to their phone to activate it, they press and hold the home button to do so. Google Now will then provide information based on whatever the user’s looking at on a card at the top of the screen. However, while speaking doesn’t always activate Google Now, the user can still speak to their device to get information using what’s already provided on the screen.