Alexa, Siri, & Google Assistant Will Make Money Off You

Description:  Apple, Amazon, and Google say their virtual helpers—Siri, Alexa, and the less snappily named Google Assistant—can make our lives easier by acting on our commands to book cabs, order pizza, or check the weather.

Source: technologyreview.com.com

Date:  May 31, 2016

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 But like all the other free-to-use goodies that tech giants offer up, these new personal assistants must also earn their keep. The companies aren’t saying much about exactly how their automated personas can boost their bottom lines, but they have clear potential to open up new lines of revenue. Perhaps most important, they could significantly increase the data that companies have on our preferences and everyday lives.

“A deeper profile of the customer is possible,” says Sridhar Narayanan, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford. “Already Google and these others have a lot of information about us—this is one new source that is different.” read rest of story

Questions:

1.  What is the revenue model to earn a revenue stream with these virtual assistants?

2.  Which one do you anticipate being the most successful? Why?

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66 thoughts on “Alexa, Siri, & Google Assistant Will Make Money Off You

  1. Jordan Doram

    These types of apps and personal assistants are another reason as to why we are facing a privacy issue. By collecting personal information about people to better their apps to compete with their competition to make the best app is unethical. Yes many people enjoy being lazy and having a more convenient way of finding what they need. However, if they knew how these companies were making these apps so efficient, then half of them would change their mind about using these apps. Gaining insight on customers is used widely in the business world for many different aspects. The type of information that these companies are collecting is not right and invades customers’ privacy. The company that will succeed amongst its competitors will be the one that can gather the greatest and most useful amount of information about consumers and use it in the most effective way. Another aspect that will help this company is the use of advertising and promoting their brand and product. At this point, any of the three companies could come out with the best product.

    Reply
  2. Keshah Austin

    I think that virtual assistants are very much an untapped market. The capabilities it has is endless but it has yet to be explored. While Apple is, I believe, the forerunners of this with Siri, I still do not believe they are exploiting all it can do. It still needs to be developed further. How many times have we heard Siri come on in the middle of class because it thinks it receives a command.  Google also had this same problem. Many times in class has Google Assistant on my phone turned on because it “hears” a command. Google, however, has made a smart move, something I do not believe Apple has adopted yet.  With Google Assistant in order to bring it up your need to call it up.  To do this you are to say “OK Google”, and the virtual assistant is able to assist you. While I have little to know experience with Apple and Siri, I know with Google products, like the Chrome book has this capability. I am able to launch programs by voice, but on top of that I am able to dictate and transcribe on Google Docs, virtually anything that can be typed. I have honestly never heard of Amazon’s Alexa, so to comment on their capabilities would be unfair.  That being said I think virtual assistant is also going to be good for those who have  difficulties. This technology will allow those who have struggles to make life a bit more easier.  This idea can be the next big step for technology.

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  3. Leigh Muirhead

    After reading this article I now understand that the money-maker for such assistant devices such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant lies with the big data generated through these devices that translate consumer usage into psychographic characteristics. These companies can then take the data from these “free” devices and then sell them to other companies to better segment their market and get better returns on their investments. Basically selling information to other business to better their bottom line, will in return better Apple and Google’s bottom line. Knowing such characteristics of consumers like their attitudes towards social issues, how they spend their leisure time and interests is crucial information for businesses to base their marketing and promotional mix around. If businesses know their consumers better, they can more efficiently and effectively reach them through their marketing efforts, which will better returns. Businesses will pay a lot of money for this information; therefore Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are very significant in regards to these organizations revenues.

    Personally, I anticipate that Siri will be the most successful honestly, I had never heard of Alexa or Google Assistant before this article, so basing my prediction on awareness is why I am going with Siri. Siri was also kind of the first one to really make a wave in regards to computer assistants also I feel like Apple has a strong following and consumers are loyal to Apple. Most of us have iPhones and access to Siri software, making it the more logical device. I think the other competitors will have to come up with some great competitive advantage to help differentiate the device to break into that market share.

    Reply
  4. Alex Geates

    The article points towards a couple of ways to profit from this technology. Data mining, percentage of profits from supplied services, and sales of the actual devices or having people pay for the service.

    I think the most obvious method would be data mining. The amount and quality of information we give to these services could be paramount to the next phase of big data. they know our likes dislikes family members and to and extent our conversations. what could be more profitable than selling this information or using it to “sell” us

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  5. Jessica L

    Virtual assistance will be able to collect revenue through the process of data mining. Their ability to learn our likes, dislikes, preferences, location, family status, and bring up information that aligns with those things will bring about profit. The way that these could bring about profits for the companies that utilize virtual assistants, is by the selling of the information they collect. If I start up a new company with a specific target market, I could potentially go to one of these big companies with the virtual assistance and find out from their data collection which of their customers would also be my ideal customers that fit into the niche. To receive this list of customers that would be perfect for my company, could mean instant success. Companies may no longer have to struggle to find and identify those that follow in their target market because that information Could be bought from a third-party rather than researched individually. This outsourcing of market discovery could be extremely beneficial. Because of the success it could provide, I imagine this list would cost a pretty penny. That is how companies using virtual assistants, like Siri, could profit from them.
    I am personally part of an apple household. That being said, I can see other companies approaching a virtual assistant with a different mindset than what Apple currently has. It is unclear to me which would be the most successful company in the long run

    Reply
  6. Simone Bowes

    Perhaps the top four would be subscription and usage fees, advertising, data and transactions/intermediation. I anticipate the one to be the most successful to be a toss up between advertising and data. Advertising could generate a lot revenue through even more accurate targeting to customers based on back data of searches, like the Google Assistant suggests. If this is a function: You could ask the google assistant to read you out a recipe as you create a shopping list and they could recommend different brands to you that are on sale at nearby stores. The data collection will be tremendous, especially if Google decides to continue that pesky voice data recordings. While it supposedly only records voice requests and stores them, it is a goldmine for data collectors and marketers. If their AI develops enough to pick up on voice fluctuation and nuance, it could be used in a variety of more ways. What if Google Assistant could decipher sarcasm and talk back to you? What if it could decipher domestic violence and record to be use in potential legal proceedings? While I have heard that the data from your phone – specifically your geotagging – are admissible in court as alibi evidence, it would be interesting to see whether Google Assistant data would be admissible. Google has already revealed that it is not private, since it actively and obviously records your data. And are there limits to what Google Assistant will do for you? Can you have a moral Google Assistant?

    Reply
  7. Layla Lahiji

    The revenue model that best suits this program, specifically these personal assistants, would be the data mining model. Not only do they have access to all the information already put onto our phones (such as contact lists, song preferences, and our likes and dislikes from applications such as Facebook, Instagram), but now they will be able to keep a record of conversations had with the personal assistants. This opens a new branch of security issues. What if Siri unintentionally recorded a confidential conversation? This information could then be later sold to different companies. These companies could then use this information to increase their database on every individual, further decreasing privacy security. That is only the beginning of security issues. Personally, I am conflicted about technology and its advancements. In my mind it could go two ways; either technology becomes so developed and so smart that our situation ends up similar to the movie Terminator, or technology becomes so involved in our lives that we all have personal robots and they become just like regular family members, similar to the Jetsons. I’m a little hesitant when it comes to technology as I don’t know which scenario will come from the advancements.
    In my opinion, Siri will have the most success in the future. This is due in part because many people use Apple products; even if people don’t use Siri, it is still well known by everyone. Although everyone was somewhat underwhelmed by Siri and its functions, there is still a lot of potential for future advancement.

    Reply
  8. Robert Mercer

    The author predicted that future virtual assistants will be making money in ways that we can’t currently comprehend. But for now, he can think of 2 ways they will earn revenue:

    1. Virtual assistance can recommend goods or services and take a percentage of the revenue
    2. The assistance could include paid suggestions, “advertising” certain recommendations.

    He also predicts the company that earns the most revenue will be the one with the best assistant. In order to become the best virtual assistant, Siri, Alexa, or google assistant will have to appear smarter than their competitors. The author states, at this point, not one of these virtual assistants can understand the context as well as an actual human. In order to appear smarter, they must mine data from previous conversations and questions. Using the output information they will be able to make shortcuts and predict our behavior. These shortcuts will make the assistant appear smarter than it really is.

    With Apple going on record saying it will avoid mining its customer’s data, I would predict google or Amazon will be successful using this model.

    However, just as the article states: “I wouldn’t be surprised if two or three years from now they find ways to monetize that we couldn’t even dream of…”, I wouldn’t be surprised if two or three years from now there is a completely new set of players in this virtual assistant market.
    At the end of 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook released a video showing a concept video of his AI system, Jarvis. Although it was more of a joke, Zuckerberg hopes that one day Jarvis will run his home (Just like Ironman). Zuckerberg’s system has a long way to go, but his company has invested billions in Artificial Intelligence technologies. Facebook is not alone; Microsoft, Uber, IBM, Skype and many other tech giants have focused their resources on AI. It would be difficult to predict a winner in this new market.

    Reply
  9. Spensor Griffith-Cochrane

    With Big data at the head of many conversations surrounding technology these days, it should come as no surprise that the revenue model of Alexa, Siri, Google assistant and others is data collection. Now, companies will be able to collect all kinds of data that otherwise might have been difficult for them. Many people are beginning to use these programs to help organize and run their lives even more frequently and in depth than they were already using their cell phones. Companies may even be able to match your voice to your customer profile now, and like all other data this can be extremely valuable to companies for any number of reasons that we do not understand yet.
    It is hard to really anticipate which of these will be more successful, apple definitely had the first mover advantage in this specific market, when Siri was first announced for the I-phone, there were other programs that allowed you to utilize voice commands on your devices sure, but not like Siri. Siri worked far better than anything else at the time, and while competitors are catching up in the effectiveness of the programs Apple and its cult following will be tough to beat. Google assistant does in my opinion, have a shot at overthrowing Apple, but it will be a game of wait and see. One of the major drawbacks of Apple, and by extension, a drawback of Siri is that Apple has a tendency to not “play nice” with other products.

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  10. Michael Isfeld

    The revenue model for virtual assistants earns revenue streams through data collection. The data that people input into their phone through virtual assistants can be highly useful to corporations from all sectors and as such can be bought for large sums of money. As we use technology more and more I believe that the potential for revenue will keep increasing.
    I believe that between Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri will be the most successful. As of right now, Alexa has some cool features that the other two do not have but must be bought separate from a phone, which is where most people use these personal assistants. Amazon would have to break into a very competitive phone industry or pair up with a business with a strong foothold in the phone industry in order to get Alexa into the hands of the people who use the virtual assistants the most. So with Alexa, in my opinion, out of the picture it really comes down to Siri versus Google Assistant. I choose Siri based on two factors, firstly that Siri is generally a more recognized name when it comes to virtual assistants, secondly Apple is a dominant force in most if not all mobile device industries, and thirdly, Apple is directly where Siri comes from and Google Assistant is paired with Android but not an actual product of Android. I believe that between these factors Siri will be the most prevalent in the industry and has the most revenue earning potential between the three virtual assistants

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  11. Amanda Brown

    Virtual assistants can earn revenue through the collection of big data. Using this voice recognition software gives the program access to our microphones, photos, locations and contacts depending on the settings. As the virtual assistant helps us locate restaurants, look up recipes and text our friends it is using data mining to take our preferences and create profiles that can track for patterns in our behavior. Business are willing to pay large sums of money to acquire this data so that they can better develop their marketing strategies to earn more revenue. This allows a strong revenue stream to develop ad big data makes more prominent progress in the near future.
    I would anticipate Siri to be the most successful because apple devices all connect to each other via air drop. I know for me personally it connects my phone, laptop and Apple TV. For others it could also include finances since apple pay has been brought into the mix. I think if apple could make a future advancement in Siri that would allow a user to voice command all of these devices simultaneously it would be most successful.

    Reply
  12. Cole Malaka

    1) Besides the revenue that could be earned from the hardware, the big revenue contributor would come from data mining. Like said in the article, a few search queries in Google will give quite a bit of information, but not nearly as much as a full conversation with a person. Digital assistants could turn Big Data from a huge industry, into a mega industry. Due to the fact that digital assistant will be communicating with third parties, they will be able to sell specialized packets of information to relevant companies, and I’m sure would charge a hefty premium for this service. Imagine being a marketer and having Google approach you with specialized information on customers who are nearly guaranteed to buy or at least look further into your product. That sounds pretty enticing. Marketing may simply become the job of tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple. All companies will have to do is pay a fee to get a list of customers delivered to their door. If this happens, it would mean enormous revenues for these companies.

    2) My guess is that Google will be the most successful. Largely due to the fact that they already have one of if not the largest databases of information on the general public already, which gives them a leg up. Amazon is stepping a little out of its realm but I don’t know enough to really make a sound judgment on them. Apple has experienced a lot of flack due to the practicality of Siri. I think a lot of people are losing faith in Apple’s ability to make an effective product. They come up with a lot of seemingly good ideas, but don’t seem to be very effective at turning them into a useful, tangible product. In my opinion, with the current situation Google will come ahead and be the leader.

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  13. Taylor Kraft

    To earn revenue through the revenue modal is from mining data. Every time we use Siri, google assistant, alexa, or any other voice recognition assist tool our data is getting collected and put into a database where wit is analysed. By tracking peoples activities through voice commands companies can see what the top searched results are and develop their products and brands to reflect what is found. The companies that provide the voice recognition software can use this data to make a customizable profile for the induvial; this makes the individual feel more connected and loyal with that brand. If a brand is putting time and effort into creating you a personal profile then why not use their services. The ability to have some of the following options is really beneficial, recently searched, recommended for you, and based on what you’ve searched. This article kind of relates to the first one, in the fact that there is so much of personal information available to different apps. The fact that I can use siri and have adds that pop up about what I was looking up yesterday is both convenient and scary.
    I feel like a lot of people are going to say siri is going to be the most successful software, this is because more people use iphones more than any other device. I personally don’t know which will be the most successful, this is because I haven’t put much time into trying the voice commands out on different phon. I feel whichever companies realises an feels that voice command could go a long way and then puts in the money and resources required to make it a useful tool with be most successful.

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