In the battle of AI assistants, you might think that Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant has the lion’s share of the market considering their pervasive presence in devices. Only one of that is correct, however, with Alexa taking just third place. Two surveys conducted by Microsoft reveal that Siri and Google Assistant are actually tied at the top. More interesting, however, are consumers’ rather conflicted feelings about using these assistants when it comes to their privacy.
Although Siri and Google Now, Google Assistant’s ancestor, existed long before Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant truly kicked off a new market with the introduction of the Amazon Echo and the generation of smart speakers that followed. Alexa was also the first to grab third-party integrations and even get installed in third-party hardware.
Despite that, only 25% of the survey’s respondents used it versus Siri’s and Google Assistant’s 36% each. Microsoft’s research suggests that Apple and Google have a distinct advantage given how their voice assistants are pre-installed on almost all smartphones while Alexa users have to install a separate app, presuming it’s even available in the user’s market. As to how Cortana achieved a surprising 19%, Microsoft’s own voice assistant is installed in every Windows 10 computer.
The whitepaper paints a generally positive outlook for voice assistant but also notes how the lack of trust is a major obstacle in the market’s growth. A large number of those surveyed are worried that their personal information is not properly secured and that smart speakers are actively (actually passively) recording them all the time. Some even noted they don’t trust the companies behind those assistants.
Ironically, those very same people are willing to give voice assistants bits of personal information for some rewards. Those could range from personalized pricing to free or upgraded shipping options. It does hint at a rather disconcerting truth that people are indeed willing to hand over their privacy for the right price.