Test drive of the voice assistant “Alice” from “Yandex”

Virtual voice assistants are designed to simplify our interaction with devices and services. Instead of wandering around the graphical interface in search of the desired menu item, you can simply command the natural language “Turn on music” or “Tell the weather forecast.” The ideal assistant should correctly understand the command and execute it.

The technologies that underlie such assistants are far from perfect, but they are already capable of impressing. You could watch them in action if you used the help of Google Assistant, Cortana or Siri. Now let’s see what Alisa can do for us, which recently settled in the Yandex application.

Synthesis and speech recognition

Unlike other developers of voice assistants, Yandex focuses on the Russian market. Therefore, it is logical to expect from “Alice” the best support of the Russian language.

Although the voice of an assistant can easily hear artificial notes, it sounds an order of magnitude more natural than its nearest competitor – the Russian version of Siri. For the scoring “Alice” attracted actress Tatiana Shitov. By the way, it was her voice that spoke the operating system in the movie “She”.

In terms of recognizing Russian speech, the assistant of Yandex still has no equal, mistakes are relatively rare. In addition, the assistant does not just recognize the phrases, but also learns to interpret them correctly. Therefore, you can use different wording and ask subsequent questions in the context of the previous ones – most likely, the service will understand you:

Alice Alice: weather forecast

But misses in interpretation of requests are still encountered in all voice assistants, and “Alice” is not an exception:

Alice: interpretation of the query Alice: voice recognition

Integration with “Yandex” services

Another important feature of “Alice”, on which the creators focus, is a convenient integration with other services of “Yandex”.

For example, ask the assistant to include a song, and she will play in “Yandex.Muzyke.” Request the translation of the phrase into another language – the assistant will open “Yandex.Translator”:

Alice: Translation Alice: integration with the services of

“Alice” also knows how to display the weather forecast and build routes thanks to weather services and Yandex maps. And if you need to find anything on the Web, Yandex.Search will help.

Alice: route Alice: building a route

Interaction with third-party programs

As for integration with third-party applications and services on mobile devices, then Alisa does not have everything so well.

The assistant can be installed on Android and iOS, but while “Alice” weakly uses the capabilities of these platforms. So, with it, you can not even quickly get an alarm, add a reminder or note. But Siri can easily cope with these tasks.

Alice: interaction with third-party programs Siri

Although “Alice” knows how to open on demand programs installed on the device, this function does not always work. For example, the assistant runs “VKontakte” and Telegram without problems, but if you ask him to open Viber, then instead of the application the assistant will send you to the site of this messenger. The assistant reacts strange to the command “open calculator”.

Viber Alice: reminders

In addition, to access “Alice”, you must first enter the Yandex application and click on the assistant button (or use a shortcut for quick access if you have Android). This is not very convenient, because one of the main tasks of a voice assistant is to allow you to operate the device without hands. The same Siri due to deep integration with iOS can take commands even when the screen is locked.

“Alice” on the computer

The Yandex assistant is also available for Windows-based computers as a separate program. After it is installed, a search bar and a button for voice interaction with the assistant appear on the taskbar.

In addition to the functions presented in the mobile version, Alice for Windows can search files on the hard disk, run desktop programs, shut down the computer or put it into sleep mode.

The result

While “Alice” produces an ambiguous impression. On the one hand, the assistant is integrated with the services of “Yandex”, which exactly like their users. In addition, although he makes mistakes, he is still leading in terms of working with the Russian language. On the other hand, I would like the assistant to interact more actively with platforms and applications.

And still it is worth considering that “Alice” at the very beginning of its journey and the lack of some functions at the start is understandable.

Download “Alice” for Windows →