Digital virtual assistants, such as Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant, have the same major function: they make your life easier by automating certain processes. Automating these processes frees up your time and attention so that you can focus on what matters most to you. These are some of the processes that they can automate:
Searching for Information
All virtual assistants are able to search for information upon request. The requests are increasingly switching to spoken requests, such as with Alexa, and the others offer the choice of using spoken or written requests. Most assistants use Google to find the answer to the request, although Cortana uses Bing.
Responding to Commands
Virtual assistants not only respond to requests to find information, but they also respond to commands such as to begin calling someone, send text messages, and play music. They do this without the need for you to navigate a screen or menu to reach a particular app, providing near-instant results.
Creating Appointments, Reminders, Notes, and To-Dos
In addition to finding answers to a variety of requests, virtual assistants can respond to commands to set appointments, reminders, create notes or tasks. For example, if you are searching for a restaurant to have dinner, virtual assistants often follow-up by providing the option to easily call the restaurant, request online reservations, or order food.
Integrating with Other Technology and Apps
Virtual assistants vary in terms of how many types of technology they can integrate with. Some, like Siri, only work with products made by the same company, while others like Google Assistant are a little more flexible.
By connecting with your other types of technology, virtual assistants can give you reminders when you're away from your phone and instead at your computer; they can also use your search history to determine information that is more relevant to you when you create a new request.