The Rise of Digital Assistants

10th June 2016

You’re probably already acquainted with Siri, Cortana or Google, the big names in voice-activated digital assistant technology. It’s likely you’ve asked one of these intuitive digital assistants at least one question or you may already be using them in your daily life, for business and personal uses.

Smart devices and their digital assistants are becoming the norm but where can they go next? The future has already been excitedly looked into with the recent launch of Viv by the team behind Siri. Viv is the first whole-life assistant and has been built using AI-principles and it is AI which drives Viv’s huge claim that it provides an ‘intelligent interface to everything’.

Before Viv is rolled out though, we already have some pretty sophisticated digital assistants available to use via our smartphones and other devices and here is a closer look at the main players.


Probably the best known voice-controlled assistant, Siri is found on Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and the Apple Watch. Siri can perform searches, check the weather, send texts, dictate emails, check your calendar, arrange appointments and be used to access general information available on the web.


Cortana is built into Windows 10 and it is quite similar to Siri in many ways. Cortana can provide answers to basic questions, provide you with weather and traffic updates and it can also manage your calendar and use the information stored on your phone to make personalised suggestions and recommendations.

Google Now

Google Now keeps things simple, it doesn’t have a personal name but it does have lots of huge benefits. It provides similar assistance to the others on the market and has the big bonus of being connected to your Google Account. It can also be enjoyed across many different platforms, iOS and Android devices, desktops, laptops and more. This makes it more universal than Cortana and Siri.

Your Digital Assistant at Work

Your digital assistant can be used in the workplace with ease and integrated into many different businesses. Get you Google Alerts instantly, be clued up on any stock changes and they soon become attuned to your routines, locations and more.

All three of these assistants will learn where you live and work, will let you know about traffic issues and they will also scan your emails and keep abreast of any travel plans, flights and hotel stays to keep you in the loop about anything you may need to know. This kind of information is truly valuable for sticking to your schedule.

They will also provide you with location-based reminders as well as those based on time. If you’re near to a post office and there are deliveries to make on your to-do list, you can rely on your digital assistant to let you know.

Optimising your Business for Digital Assistant Search

One of the main ways general users interact with their digital assistant is for simple web searches. The more people make verbal search via their digital assistant, the more your business will need to consider its longtail keywords and phrases.

With verbal searches people aren’t going to be typing ‘digital agency Edinburgh’ anymore, they’re going to be saying ‘Find me a digital agency in Edinburgh’ and there may even be conversational elements to the search and these impact upon how you need to be carrying out your search engine marketing and optimisation.

From a business perspective, this means you need to be focusing on your longtail keywords and you need to consider a more conversational approach to your keyword placement and planning too. Rather than thinking of single key phrases for your business, think about the questions that you are the answer to and the questions that your site and business is the most fitting for.

Optimising your site for digital assistants means you’re ahead of the game and if you can utilise them in your daily business life too then you’ll have a better understanding of how they work and kind of searches you can make.

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