6 Apps to have your smartphone be your personal assistant

Digital Personal Assistant CartoonWe all want a personal assistant à la Lloyd in Entourage — someone to walk our dogs, handle unwanted emails and ensure we’re always on time. But for those of us who aren’t Ari Gold — and therefore can’t afford a full-time, salaried employee — we have to make do with the tools we’re given.

Luckily, a smartphone can be an excellent substitute.  You can now “hire” (a.k.a. download) a personal assistant without leaving the confines of the App Store. So whether you’re scheduling a meeting or planning the most efficient route across town, a smartphone can be your most useful asset.

Read on for our favorite apps that double as a personal assistant. Beware: Once you start using them, people’s expectations of you will skyrocket.

1. 24me

This free app — which prides itself on an uncluttered, easy-to-use interface — marries your tasks with your calendar. Auto-generated reminders will ensure no event is forgotten, while enabling you to easily share notes and content with friends. And, as of recently, it is also available for Android users. Sync it with your other apps, like Facebook, to ensure every bill, event and task is included in your automated reminders.

2. Robin

Named after Batman’s perennial sidekick, this Android app has everything you need in a great personal assistant. This voice-recognition app has special features, such as the ability to search for cheap parking. Robin can also check for directions, conduct hands-free messaging and deliver news from its artificially intelligent newsroom. It’s clear why this app has dubbed itself the “Siri challenger.”

3. vokul

If Dragon Go is the best at dictating, then vokul leads the pack for voice control. The app enables you to go hands-free, and will work in noisy environments like your car or the office. Ask vokul to read your social media feeds, or fast forward to a certain point in a song. Unlike Siri, which requires you to tap your phone for activation, vokul will activate upon hearing the words “hey vokul” — so as long as the app is open, no hands are needed. In fact, it’s the only 100% hands-free voice control app available.

4. Dragon Go

While it doesn’t have all of the shiny functions of Google Now, Dragon Go is the best at one thing: Dictation. Its speech recognition technology will enable you to draft emails, texts and memos on the go — without the hassle of including another human in the process. Dragon Go has an unprecedented level of accuracy when transcribing — even better than Siri. It can also sync with Netflix, iTunes and Spotify for voice control.

5. Google Now

Word on the street is that a little company called Google is pretty good with technology — so how could we expect their assistant app to be anything other than top-notch? Google Now is marketed as the “intelligent personal assistant,” available for both iOS and Android. You can also run the program on personal computers via Chrome. Use this nifty app to set geo-triggered reminders, store airline boarding passes and check the weather at an upcoming destination. Best of all, the latest version’s features include barcode scanning and song recognition.


6. Assistant by Speaktoit

Assistant awaits your commands:* Answer any questions

* Perform actions on your device
* Notify about important events
* Make your daily routine easier and funBesides doing whatever you like, it can look whatever you like. Use avatar builder to build an avatar.Assistant is based on the most advanced natural language understanding platform – http://api.aiThe Speaktoit Assistant has been named:★★★★★ New York Times: Top 10 Android App of the Year
★★★★★ Forbes: Top 10 Mobile App for Productivity
★★★★★ Red Herring Top 100 Global Winner
★★★★★ PC World: Best free Android appsYour Speaktoit Assistant uses natural language technology to answer questions, find information, launch apps, and connect you with various web services like Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Evernote, Yelp, and others.What else can your Assistant do?It Remembers – As the Assistant learns about your favorite places, services, and preferences, it takes into account your current environment and schedule in order to provide the best suggestions and Assistant functions customized to you.It Understands – There’s no need to memorize any commands or learn any special tricks to make the Assistant work for you – just speak naturally, the Assistant will understand you.It Cares – Your Assistant offers proactive assistance when it thinks you might need it – your best interests are always in mind.It Speaks Your Language – The multilingual Assistant is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Cantonese, Traditional Chinese, and it’s currently being trained in many other languages that will launch soon.It’s Always at Your Service – Your Assistant is cross-platform: use the same Assistant on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.It Learns – Want your Assistant to respond or react in a specific way? Teach it to further improve its efficiency!The list of the Assistant’s skills is too large to fit here, you can find them in the application under the little light bulb next to the microphone. Some of them are: talk, call numbers and contacts, send and receive texts messages and email, set alarms, search websites, get answers from encyclopedias, find places, read news, get weather forecasts, do basic math, updates Facebook statuses, tweet, organize calendar, tasks and notes, play music and videos, open sites and applications, translate, navigate, check in on Foursquare, remind, learn from you new commands and much more.Currently, the Assistant works with the following services: Google, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Evernote, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Wikipedia, WolframAlpha, DuckDuckGo, IMDB, Eventful, News360, Amazon, Gmail, Google Images, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Navigation, Waze and it’s being connected to more.Compare it to other voice assistants like Apple Siri, Nuance Dragon Go, Vlingo, Evi, Voice Actions, Voice Search, Iris, IBM Watson, Maluuba, Skyvi, Jeannie, AIVC, EVA and other voice control applications.


What virtual assistant do you use? Tell us in the comments.


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