We often chat with bots in text using messaging apps, but voice-activated bots are becoming increasingly common in people’s homes through platforms like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Voice chatbots are exactly what they sound like: bots you talk to via voice. What users love about them is that they provide hands-free assistance, letting people accomplish a variety of tasks when they’re busy or distracted. This means delegating tasks to a voice chatbot is nearly indistinguishable from talking to a human.
Voice chatbots can be useful while driving, while cooking or any other time someone’s hands are full. You’ll find that most them deal with “smart home” tasks—things like setting the thermostat, turning on/off lights—but plenty of other useful bots, skills and services exist as well. What are some of the best ones on the market, and how can you talk to them? Get ready to say “hello” to your new best friend…
What are the Different Voice Chatbot Platforms?
Both Amazon Echo devices and Google Home feature voice chatbots on their platforms. Google calls these third-party bots “services,” while Amazon calls them “skills.” They don’t just sit on those devices; the Alexa and Google mobile apps grant you access to your favorite skills and services on their respective platforms.
If you primarily want to use voice bots in your home, Amazon’s Echo line features more diversity and options in devices you can buy. Meanwhile, Google has opted for a one-size-fits-all standard Google Home device. For more details, you can view out breakdown of these two platforms—and Apple’s new HomePod—here.
THE BEST ALEXA SKILLS AND GOOGLE HOME SERVICES
This Alexa skill lets you practice for your next big job interview. It’ll offer questions related to the job you set, giving you an idea of what to expect (and how to respond) when the big day comes. This is a great, practical example of the potential of voice bots, making it one of the best voice chatbots out there.
The Magic Door
Have you ever sat around a campfire telling stories? Relive the times of oral storytelling with this Alexa skill, which walks you through a choose-your-own-adventure game where you’re the main character. The conversational UI gives this the feeling of a bedtime story that you can control, making key decisions that affect the story.
Turn Alexa into your personal home trainer with 7-Minute Workout. One of the best voice chatbots for fitness, this skill walks you through a daily exercise routine and tracks your workouts. When connected to the Alexa mobile app, it will even show image tutorials for the different exercises.
Food Network makes it easy to make the dishes you see on your favorite cooking shows. Just ask your Google Assistant to check Food Network for recipes by name, chef, course or ingredient. When talking to the bot via Google Home, your recipes will be sent to your inbox to view when you’re ready to cook. If talking via the Google app, you can peruse results in a carousel format. Finally, you can even ask for the recipe of whatever’s being cooked on TV at that moment!
A popular smart home voice chatbot, Philips Hue lets you use Google Assistant to control the lights throughout your home. Simply command the bot to dim, brighten, or turn on and off the lights by name. You can also set the lights to whichever color you like by talking to this Google Home service.
This is one of the best voice chatbots thanks to its amazing versatility. With IFTTT for Google Assistant, you can connect a variety of services and platforms together with simple voice commands to automate your life. For example, you might say to the bot “If I leave home, turn off the lights.” It’s that easy! IFTTT isn’t so different than delegating a task to another human, making it an incredibly useful Google Home service.
The Future of Voice Chatbots
Voice bots let users accomplish many tasks using verbal commands. While it may seem like a novelty for some today, the introduction of wearables—including Apple’s AirPods, powered by Siri—could make voice the most dominant UI for performing quick tasks. This lets us do more without screens or buttons, providing a seamless user experience that doesn’t distract us from daily activities like reaching for a phone.
Further, voice platforms like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa provide single platforms that connect many “internet of things” enabled devices. As more users adopt such devices, voice bot platforms will make it easier for users to control them with one interface. Services like IFTTT or interbots controlled via voice will only make these even more sophisticated.