The technology behind voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant may be complex, but a recent survey suggests people are using their smart devices for pretty simple things.
Twenty percent of people even asked their voice assistant for help to boil an egg, according to a June survey by Code Computerlove, a digital marketing firm which partnered with OnePoll to survey 1,000 smart speaker owners in the U.K.
The top uses of smart speakers for the respondents were playing music and listening to weather and news, trailed by asking for updates on travel and playing audio books. American surveys published this year by Adobe Analytics and eMarketer found similar results: Consumers reported listening to music, asking questions about the weather and setting reminders as the top uses.
When asked what they wish their smart speaker could do, U.K. respondents' answers got a little more personal. Most people wanted help with jokes, language and dating.
The bulk of Code Computerlove survey respondents reported owning an Amazon Echo (76 percent), Google Home ownership came in second place (29.90 percent) and only a small percentage (8.90 percent) reported owning Apple's Homepod.
Smart speaker sales are climbing globally. Amazon announced after 2017's holiday season it had sold "tens of millions " of devices enabled with Alexa, like it's Echo speakers. Consumers even used their Echoes to buy more Echoes.
But analysts don't have a clear picture of which company is in the lead: A May report by research firm eMarketer estimated Amazon to have 66 percent of the market share, followed by Google, but a report the same month from market analysts at Canalys found shipments of Google Home outpaced Amazon Echos in the first quarter of 2018. Those numbers differed from a third May report by Strategy Analytics, which estimated Amazon outsold its rival.
Whichever company is winning the smart speaker race, both are building out software for their assistants to do more things. On Google's Assistant, programs that can be thought of like apps are called "actions," and on Amazon's Alexa, they're called "skills." There are 40,000 third party skills available for Alexa, and over 1 million first- and third-party actions for Google Assistant.
But, for now, consumers are most frequently using the basic functions of their voice assistants.
That may change, as voice assistant technology pushes into industries from healthcare for seniors to e-commerce, integrating in everything from smart bathroom mirrors to cars. Today, consumers just want to avoid runny eggs.
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