These days you can ask most smartphones questions as if you were speaking to another person, use your phone as a GPS navigation device, tap a button on your phone to instantly get contextual information about whatever’s on the screen, and do a whole bunch of other cool things.
But a recent study from Creative Strategies suggesting that most people don’t actually use one of the coolest features on their phones (voice assistant software like Siri, Cortana, or OK Google), got me thinking about some of the things I know my phone can do… but which I don’t find all that useful.
To be fair, that study didn’t show that nobody uses those features. What’s particularly interesting is that it suggests the people that do use them prefer to do so in the privacy of their own home or car (because talking to your phone at work or in public might have people looking at you funny).
I work from home, but usually pick up my phone and start tapping or typing when I want to look something up, but I will use OK Google voice search from time to time when I’m cooking and don’t want to wipe off my hands to use my phone. And since I don’t own a car, I don’t use voice controls while driving very often (although I use Google Maps navigation almost every time I drive somewhere unfamiliar).
The study suggests one of the reasons the Amazon Echo and other devices with Amazon’s Alexa voice service are popular: because they’re designed to be used around the house rather than out in public. So it’s hardly surprising that Google is bringing Google Assistant (a sort of evolved OK Google) to the home with an upcoming product called Google Home. Amazon is said to be working on something similar.
But while I use my Android phone to read the news, communicate with friends and colleagues, play games, listen to music and podcasts, and do many other things pretty much every day, there are still a bunch of things I know my phone can do… but which I never use it for.
When Google announced Now on Tap, I tried it out… didn’t find it that useful, and pretty much forgot it existed. In fact, I even disabled Google Now a while back, because I found that for the most part it only showed me news and reminders for things I was already aware of.
And those are just features built into the operating system. When you start to look at all the things your phone can do that are just an app away, I’m pretty sure everyone’s smartphone experience is unique.
So what are some of the things that you thought would be cool to do with you phone… but which you find yourself never (or rarely) actually using?