Psychology, Tech

Hey, What’s Your Name?

Google Home Mini

Image by antonbe from Pixabay

Our current group (party, gaggle, company) of smart-speaker voice assistants have real names, Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google.  Eh.  Why didn’t Google give their assistant a name, a proper name.  She clearly has a personality of sorts, even if it is pre-programmed, and apparently now has feelings to hurt if you swear at her or speak impolitely.  If she was a real person she would, I’m sure, be embarrassed by her name and people would say “did her parents have a bad sense of humour?”

It’s not just me being flippant, for me it just doesn’t feel natural saying “OK Google” or “Hey Google”.  I’m sure they think it sounds cool but imagine if everyone who meets you and asks you a question had to prefix it with “Hey Joe” or “Hey Sue” or worse still “Hey Human” it would get boring very quickly, for both parties.  As for “OK Joe” – that just sounds unnecessarily aggressive.  I think it’s the “OK” or “Hey” prefix that niggles, just asking “Google?” would be a little better, to be fair.

If we are to, in the future, have a natural verbal interaction with technology it has to be exactly that – natural – not an excuse to crowbar the name of the service provider into the conversation.  At the end of the day you’re likely to know you’re using a Google device.  Their approach seems to hark back too much to the original Star Trek’s “Computer…”

Hey Google, please grace your AI with a real name, those of us who feel daft saying “Hey Google” might use it more.  Personally, having lived in Newark, and more specifically worked with a certain Mr Johnson for twenty years, a natural way to summon her would be to say “Now then Mush, what’s the weather like today?”

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