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Camden Clark
Camden Clark

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Why don't voice apps see more adoption?

I read this summary of smart speaker usage and was struck by how little adoption third party smart speaker apps are gaining. It's not particularly surprising: just ask anyone not super familiar with the technology if they've used an Alexa skill. It seems like the third party ecosystem would have been more robust by now.

A Quick Note on Discoverability

From what I've been reading, there's a ton of discourse in the voice application community on discoverability. Sure, discoverability is really important for lots of applications. Ask yourself this: how many of the applications on your phone did you install after finding them in the app store?

I don't think discoverability is the key. If users were getting consistent value, we'd see adoption.

It's all about jobs to be done

What can your user accomplish that they can't accomplish easier by picking up their phone?

I think the Jeopardy skill is an excellent example--it's actually easier to dictate answers to Jeopardy than it is to write them on your phone.

There are a ton of reasons why the subset of jobs to be done with third party voice apps is really small right now. What do you think is the key?

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Discussion (1)

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Ben Sinclair

I think this still comes down to a couple of ideas:

  • it's fundamentally serial in nature: you can't multi-task
  • discoverability: you don't know what you can do
  • it's still terrible.

The last point is important:

Hey Google, play In Rolling Waves by The Naked And Famous

Sure, playing Baby by Justin Bieber on Spotify

This is how accurate speech recognition still is in 2020 and it requires the use of an entire data mining evil corporation to get that far.