Voice Assistants Expand Into All Aspects of Daily Life


Photo by William Hsieh

This Google Home Mini’s set of iconic lights activate by their trigger phrase, “Hey Google,” ready for any command.

Nicholas Hung, Staff Writer

“Hey Google, what’s the weather going to be like today?”

Google Assistant, along with Amazon’s Alexa and other voice assistant products, have taken the consumer electronics market by storm since their debut in 2014. Since then, large companies like Google, Amazon and even Apple have raced to improve voice assistant technologies by releasing new models with display screens, enhanced speakers or miniaturized designs.

“We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a July 2018 quarterly report announcement. “There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year.”

Both Alexa and Google Assistant have made their way into thousands of smart home devices, according to both product websites. Voice assistant products can now control countless home appliances, and even showers have microphones and display screens to control everything from water pressure to temperature.

“Home technology simply will become more connected, with a voice command controlling everything,” IKEA Tradfri smart light system user and junior Brian Hawkins said.

Amazon has also been testing Alexa Auto, a full integration of Alexa into vehicle software. The new program with be compatible with Toyota, Ford and 20 others advertised on Amazon’s webpage.

“I think the integration into cars can keep drivers less distracted as you can just command things through voice, which is much safer,” junior Anthony Chan said.

Although competing companies race to invent new services and add voice assistants to every aspect of daily life, the reality is full-blown smart homes and cars are few and far between.
Voice assistant technology might very well be a staple of the future, but for now, voice assistants remain as a small convenience, a helper for all the little things that make the day just a bit easier.

“My voice assistant is more of a convenience here and there, but it’s more of the small things that add up to something bigger,” Google Home user and junior Brandon Liang said.

It might be difficult to imagine a lifestyle with a home assistant 24/7, but as consumers take ever increasing steps towards full integration, that future is very possible.