The Rise Of Virtual Assistants

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Search is now moving towards voice commands and giants like Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are trying their best to bring in the change in consumer behaviour. “You have all the information at your fingertips,” is soon going to be replaced by, “You just need to ask for it.” During Google’s annual tech developers conference Google I/O last month, the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated something that surprised, if not shocked, the entire world.

Tech giants are spending heavy bucks on making virtual assistants as smart as a human being. But how will they make money? “Advertising,” answers Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst, founder and CEO, Greyhound Research. “It is all about data. Essentially, the more data they have about you, the better they know you and the better they are able to sell insights about you to marketers.” 

“Voice based advertising will take at least two years to take off in a significant way,” adds Gogia.

Another big challenge that these assistants need to overcome is the threat to privacy. The recent uproar about Alexa recording a private conversation between a lady and her husband, and then sending it to a random contact, has come as a huge blow for the category. “It is a big challenge for these players. Whether you like it or not, there is someone listening to you all the time,” opines Gogia. Given that these assistants are always connected to the internet, risks multiply if they have access to passwords and sensitive information with apps linked to them in a manner that they are vulnerable to being hacked.


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Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, an award-winning global research & advisory firm. To read more about him, click here.

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