Do all digital assistants suck? Or is it just me?

Microsoft today unleashed the newest competitor to the digital assistant marketplace appropriately named, ‘Cortana’ into the marketplace and I’m really hoping it’s the kind of voice responding sassy app we were first promised by Apple in 2010.

I’d also take a real life virtual assistant like the Master Chieft has in the ‘Halo’ series, but I don’t think we’re quite that far into the future yet…

Anyways, while the title of this blog may be a tad misleading at this point (as I have yet to download ‘Cortana’) I’m really having trouble finding a use for the digital assistant in my life. Perhaps not everyone feels this way, or maybe I’m simply expecting too much, but I really find them utterly clunky and a general hassle to use.


In general, I think the idea of speaking to your phone in public is WEIRD, but at home, the practicalities are limitless. Take for instance the Zooey Deschanel ‘Siri’ commercial…totally makes sense to use a phone like that. Except for the fact that ‘Siri’ worked nowhere near to the level that the commercial made it look. The idea of a ‘digital assistant’ is unfortunately handicapped by the hassle of the user experience.

But alas, I knew as our smart phones progressed that there would easily be growing pains. But before I download ‘Cortana’ and begin to ask her a slew of questions when I wake up tomorrow, let’s lower the expectations a bit here shall we? *Sigh*


So many empty promises Zooey, so many…

‘Digital Assistants’ are great to ask for things such as, the weather, the national flag of a country, showing quick photos, calling someone, texting someone, opening an app, or playing music. The bare bones…what they’re not great at is asking full fledged questions (My exception is ‘The Google App’ which is FANTASTIC for open ended questions with lightning fast responses) but overall, I’ve got big expectations for ‘Cortana.’ I’ve never known Microsoft (despite now being a Mac user) to launch a product second to market with the same mistakes as the predecessor of a competitors marquee app.

That being said, ‘Cortana’ it’s still her first day on the job and I plan on giving her some slack, but I really hope she is the best of both worlds when it comes to the ease and practicality of the Google Voice app, combined with the potential functionality that I thought ‘Siri’ would be. Who knows, maybe ‘Cortana’ even has a sassy sense of humor like she does in the ‘Halo’ series too. But if she starts getting weird like this, I’ll be sure to delete her from my phone faster than the Master Chief can reload his pistol.

‘Cortana’ is launching in the US and China today for iOS and Android, but if you want to download her onto your PC, you can do it HERE:

If you want to read The Verge’s take on Microsoft’s Cortana, which you definitely should, you can find it linked here. 

Check out this full video breakdown of ‘Cortana vs. Siri’ below.

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