Ever since voice assistants became a mainstream app on smartphones and smart speakers, they prove to be very helpful in trivial situations.
“Hey Google, play some music”
“Okay Google, set a timer for 15 minutes”
“Hey Google, tell me a joke…”
If you’re one of the voice assistant users, you’ve probably also asked for help with some more complex tasks, such as booking a hotel, buying cinema tickets or help with cooking a dinner.
You might have tried to practice your small talk skills on the assistant too.
Sparking a conversation with an object that listens and responds is a human nature (there’s nothing wrong in talking to a dog, a teddy bear, neither a strange looking speaker). We adapt it, get used to its presence and eventually treat it as a family member…
Have you ever said to Alexa: “I’m really sorry, it’s just for a moment”, when you had to unplug it for a minute to move it from one room to another?
No? How about saying “thanks” to Google, when it reminds you to call your mum on Sunday afternoon? We all know it’s just a speaker with an electronic circuit board — so why bother with being polite?
It’s because we are empathetic. When someone is friendly to us, we want to give back. When someone sounds happy, we want to share the joy. And when we have a good time together, we’re more willing to share our secrets, our emotions and our problems. We bond.
Once the voice assistant earn our trust, we start asking it for help with things that can be categorised as personal, for example:
- opinions (“Hey Google, what do you think about Donald Trump”)
- health (“Hey Google, I’ve got a headache, can you help?”)
- or feelings (“Hey Google, I feel sad…”)
As a user experience designer I find these observations phenomenal. The potential that voice assistants bring to our daily lives is incredibly wide, and the experience offered when fulfilling certain tasks is at entirely different level compared to what we experience when using traditional, screen-based interfaces.
How good would it be to enable a voice assistant in situations that aren’t trivial, but actually important and of a serious matter? In personal kind of situations such as… finding love, friendship or broadly speaking — connecting people?
This short article is part of a bigger story which explains my journey and thoughts behind enabling a voice assistant — Google Assistant — to become a personal matchmaker. That’s right — turning your smart speaker into someone who can match and connect two people together.
At the time of writing this article, the matchmaker has already connected 4 people, and attracted over 400 users. You can try it out, by saying to your Google Assistant:
“Hey Google, ask Only One to find me true love”
Dear Alexa users: I’m sorry you have to wait, but I promise, it’s coming soon!
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P.S. Here’s a link to Only One website: https://findyouronlyone.com/