Always see it in English
There has been much talk about artificial intelligence and how the world will change. Excessively avant-garde discourses are often heard, and there are still those who can only conceive of robots with arms and legs. Of course, these do exist, but we are still far from seeing them walk through our cities. What we now do have in our homes, which has appeared without much fuss, is another type of artificial intelligence.
Virtual voice assistants are becoming part of the routine. They barely take up space and we forget about them, since:
- Either they are discreet loudspeakers we install at home.
- Or they are integrated into our mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, smart TV, etc.).
We ask... and they answer. They have all the wisdom of the Internet at their disposal, but to get good answers we have to ask good questions.
“The quality of an answer is usually directly related to the quality of the question.”
A different conversation
A house is smart when it has several devices connected to the net. Television, refrigerator, doors, windows, light bulbs... Everything can be connected if we have the necessary technology. Making your house truly smart can cost you between 250 and 1,800 euros.
To get the most out of virtual assistants, your home should be as smart as possible... but even without other connected devices you can enjoy many advantages. After all, virtual assistants will browse the Internet for you. Without typing anything, with your voice alone, you can ask for answers.
Obviously a speaker is not the same as a telephone. Each interface has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest point in favour of mobiles is that we interact with the assistant by voice, but we can always rely on a screen to show images, results and even videos to complement what the assistant's voice is saying.
The biggest advantage of the speaker is that we will not need to hold anything, or even open our eyes: we get answers just by talking. Nonetheless, both Amazon and Google have begun to market speakers with screens, to offer a complete experience.
“Even if you have not bought a speaker, you can enjoy the Google or Alexa assistant directly with your smartphone.”
What to ask the Google Assistant
This is possibly the most affordable option for everyone, since we find it on any Android mobile . If we are users of the Google universe, crossed information (maps, translations, mail...) it guarantees us valuable results.
Below, grouped by topics, we will see what things you can ask Google:
- That it send messages for us: this is one of the strengths of the Google Voice Assistant. We can ask it to send messages with the main messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, and also to write emails or call.
- Let it be our map: how can I get to work on foot? Where is the nearest pizzeria? What is the quickest way home?
- Let it be our agenda: set the alarm (and have the speaker wake us up itself), make the shopping list, configure alerts to notify us at certain times...
- Let it be our weatherman: without leaving home we find out what the weather is going to be like tomorrow wherever we are going; whether it is going to rain or what the weather is like somewhere on the other side of the globe.
- Ask for music and videos: if it's on the Internet, you can ask Google to play a song or favourite film for you.
- Let it be our translator: one of the most useful things we can do with an assistant is ask how words or phrases are said in another language and get the answer with native pronunciation.
- Make adjustments to the system: we can do things with our phone, like turning on the torch, changing the screen parameters, and even turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on or off.
What to ask Alexa
Amazon has Alexa as its virtual voice assistant. We find it on its Echo speakers, but also in a large number of third-party products that have licensed its use. It has spoken Spanish since the end of last year and is available on Android and iPhone.
It shares many behaviours with its competitor assistant (Google). We can ask for information about things, translate, create lists and set alarms and reminders.
- "Alexa, what temperature is it in the street?"
- "Alexa, who was Primo Carnera?"
- "Alexa, set the alarm from Monday to Thursday at 8am"
Amazon plays with the disadvantage of not being as involved in our lives as Google (it is not our mail, our search engine, our Internet TV through YouTube...). But what it is a great on-line store. Taking advantage of this strength, we have the juicy possibility of making shopping lists on Amazon, although we must first enter our account credentials, which will open the door for other services, such as Amazon Music and Amazon Prime Video.
But the big difference between Amazon and the rest of the assistants are the skills. These are extra features developed by third parties and, to understand them quickly and easily, they could be compared to mobile apps. As with mobile phones, in the Amazon skills store we can find all kinds of useful things to download and incorporate into our lives.
- For transport we have a Cabify skill associated with our account that we can use to ask the assistant for a car by voice.
- If what we want is news, these are available on the El País or El Mundo skills.
- Are you hungry? With a simple "I want Telepizza" you can place an order.
- If you are still hungry but you want to cook yourself, you can look for popular recipes by name or ingredient in CookPad.
- Renfe also has its official AVE skill, with information on timetables, places and prices.
- The adaptation of Trivial Pursuit is also on Alexa, so you can compete with other friends from your sofa.
A particular highlight is the ability to link each skill to the "routines" concept. In this way we can show Alexa what we want her to do. For example: that every time we say "good morning", she answer us with a quick summary of the latest news, and every time we say "good night" she remind us of what we have on the agenda for the next day.
Ask Endesa things
Endesa is fully compatible with Google Assistant and has also developed an Endesa skill for Alexa.
Once registered in your Private Client Area, these assistants will be able to know everything about your invoices, your contracts and your energy consumption.
You can check things like:
- Are you using more electricity than the previous month?
- Is my last bill paid?
- Is there a new price that can adapt to my consumption profile to help me save?
- How much was I paying last year around the same dates?
- I need to contact Endesa
We are working to extend the number of functions, which will grow every day at the same rate as the intelligence of your home.
“If you are with Endesa, you can ask the virtual assistants anything you want about your bills and your electricity or gas consumption”