This is the Most-Needed Change for All Digital Assistants in 2018 (Premium)

Sorry for the seemingly cheap headline, but this topic creates a unique challenge for its author.

That is, it's too hard to summarize easily in a headline. And is conversely so easily understood that it doesn't require a long article.

And it goes like this: Every digital personal assistant maker---Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, whomever---needs to allow its users to specify the keyword or phrase they use to initiate voice commands and summon the assistant.

Further, that customization should be user-specific and be based on voice recognition. Any given assistant should behave differently depending on whom is speaking.

As you may know, you use the word "Alexa" to trigger a conversation with Amazon's assistant. You use "Hey Siri" with Apple's. "Hey Google" or "OK, Google" for Google's. And "Hey Cortana" for Microsoft's. (No one cares what we use with Samsung Bixby.)

It is, perhaps, ironic that Google's key phrases are the most awkward to say. And it is, perhaps, genius that Amazon's is the easiest.

But no matter. They should be configurable. Isn't that the point of these things? That they are personal?

I should be able to walk into my kitchen and say "Yogurt, what's the weather like today" (or whatever) and have the Google Home appliance there respond accordingly. My wife, meanwhile, could use the keyword or phrase of her choice too. On the same device.

She could even use "Alexa" or "Siri" if she wanted to. That would make transitioning between these assistants easier. Which may explain why this hasn't happened yet.

Anyway, this idea is as obvious as they come. Which makes me wonder how long we'll need to wait before it happens. I suspect that any one platform maker who enables this will trigger a shift in all of the assistants. And that will be wonderful for all of us.

See, I told you that would be easy to explain.


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