Dave, from 2001: A Space Odyssey, talking to the intelligent, sentient computer, HAL.

The voice-enabled artificial intelligence behind futuristic computer HAL – debuted in 1968 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey – has moved out of sci-fi movies into just about every device imaginable. Whether it’s Siri on your iPhone, Microsoft Cortana on your Xbox, or Google Assist on your Android phone, there’s no shortage of intelligent digital assistance these days. And no shortage of locations where assistance is just a tap or voice command away.

Let’s check out the media trajectories of the top brands.


Cortana. From a media perspective, Microsoft’s Cortana is a little bit adrift. Ratings are down over the prior month, off -4 points at a 50 media rating. Year-over-year media performance hasn’t fared much better, off -6 percent. Looking at the individual media segments (blue circles) that roll into Cortana’s topline rating shows a consistent coverage picture with some solid gains in social media segments.

Cumulative growth over the preceding 4-year period is very strong at +23 percent. Not unexpected given that Cortana, along with most competing offerings, was almost non-existent four years ago.

Siri. Let’s move on to the first market entrant, Apple’s Siri. No surprise here that at 74, Siri is +24 points ahead of Cortana in the overall media landscape. However, media performance over longer time frames (1 year and 4-years) shows some erosion. The troubling media story for Siri isn’t the short or long-term media decline, it’s the current media rating low (over a 4-year period) hit this month at 74 points. While the voice recognition trend is increasing in media momentum, the market leader is hitting a new media low? With new market entrants with more sophisticated AI gaining traction, something needs attention in Apple’s Siri product and marketing groups.


alexaTwo of the more innovative offerings come from Amazon (Alexa) and Google (Assistant). From a media perspective, Amazon’s entry into the the voice enabled digital assistant market is nearly flawless. Advancing +10 points over the prior month and posting +37% and +48% annual and cumulative 4-year rating gains is an impressive media performance. Mention counts are moderate suggesting that much of the gains came from high-quality media channels and sources. At a current 63 rating, Alexa is in the middle of the pack, ahead of Microsoft Cortana, but trailing Google and Apple.

assistantGiving Siri, Alexa, and Cortana a run for their money is Google Assistant, a re-branded upgrade to Google Now. (personal I think the name needs a major marketing makeover — it just sounds too generic for a technollogy drawing significant competitive attention). Benefiting from Google’s massive media presence, the Assistant brand advanced +41 points to a new rating high of 73 this month.  Not surprisingly, Google Assistant is stronger within online media segments (news, blogs, forums and Twitter).