Many think voice assistants are still in the toy category, but I’m convinced that they’ve recently become part of the underlying trust fabric for the Google, Apple, and Amazon brands.
Apple is known for its product quality, and up until now Siri has not been considered part of that equation. I think that’s changing, though, and it’s changing very quickly because she’s being compared to Assistant and Alexa who don’t make near as many mistakes.
Siri is far behind Google Assistant and Alexa in terms of the emotional trust she’s earned and squandered—and that’s about to become a serious handicap.
The first few times Siri made a catastrophic error, it was funny. You ask for pizza and she gives you Apple Map locations that are 2,500 miles away in Idaho—for an Indian restaurant. Or you ask to hear “Mars Volta”, and she gives you a list of web links related to dog kennels.
At first it’s funny. Then it’s less funny. Then it’s annoying. Then you’re simply not going to use her anymore. And if Alexa has better answers she’ll become the new default without you even making a conscious choice.
The problem for Apple is that someone preferring Alexa to Siri isn’t a digital assistant rejection—it’s a brand rejection.
Siri isn’t a feature of a few products; she’s the personification of Apple itself. And if she can’t answer basic questions, or does so in a noticeably worse way than the competition, then it’s going to cheapen every product that Apple makes.
As a long-time Apple fan and advocate, and someone who thinks digital assistants are the future of computing, I really want to see them aggressively attack the personal assistant space.
It’s not a toy. Not anymore. A brand’s digital assistant is its spokesperson at this point. The ever-present representative. Apple can’t afford to get lapped in this area. It’s too critical to overall brand trust.
I hope they massively improve Siri in a way that completely overtakes the competition. And I hope they do it soon.