I don't use Siri, Google Now or Cortana nearly enoughEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Part of the fun of getting a new phone, or even just getting new software on a current daily driver, is using the new features that are inherently added to the experience. It's one reason why I love software updates so much (or, more accurately, can't stand when a perfectly capable device isn't provided the new content). It's definitely why I pick up a new device, even if it makes me an early adopter and I later regret it.
The trouble with new features, is that for some people, they're working against a very big roadblock: routine. For many smartphone owners, doing something one way -- and preferring that method over any other -- can sometimes mean that new experiences or methodologies just don't play well. And, ultimately, that they don't get adopted.
I've known people who have switched devices because something has changed. Or, more frequently, just refused to update software or buy a new device, because the idea of ditching what they know, and have used for an extended period of time, just isn't fathomable.
Routine is an iceberg: it can seem relatively harmless, but then there's the realization it's oftentimes a massive obstacle for individuals to get over.
For me, routine means that I can sometimes start using a new feature, something inherently designed to help me even, but eventually I'll just stop and go back to using my device the way I always have. Normally, I can get used to new ways to use apps, mostly because I realize that I don't have much of a choice in the matter. Especially if I'd prefer to use one app over any other, I have to adapt to the way they change things.
It's features like Siri, Google Now or Cortana that stand out to me as apps that I *want* to use, but just can't. At least, not for an extended period of time. Way back in 2012, I wrote about how Siri had managed to sneak into my life, that I was using the feature quite a bit and I actually found it pretty helpful. Since then, though, I've probably used Apple's digital personal assistant in any serious capacity probably a handful of times.
Google Now? It's the same deal. I turn the feature on as soon as I get a new Android-based device. In fact, it's routinely one of the first things I do. I get excited to use it. And for a little while, I might actually pay attention to the information it provides me. But, ultimately, I get annoyed with the Cards that show up in the Notification Shade, and I just stop paying attention to it altogether.
Like many people out there, I haven't been able to use Cortana all that much yet, and I'll be the first to admit that Microsoft has done a really good job implementing their own digital personal assistant into Windows Phone, but I can't help but think my usage pattern with the feature will be exactly the same as it is on the other mobile platforms.
The reason I end up not using these things is because I just can't break the routine of how I normally do things. I'll add events to my calendar physically, tapping the details with my fingers into each entry. I'll use my headphones to change songs. I'll check my weather app to see what the temperature is outside. I've never had a text message read out loud to me. I've never dictated a text message or status update. All because I've done it one way for so long, and even if I think those things (and so much more) are great, the power of routine is strong and I can't break it.
With Microsoft confirming updates coming to Windows Phone 8.1, some of which are geared towards Cortana, it got me thinking: how many people actually use it? Or use Google Now or Siri? And not just every once in awhile, or once a month or less. I mean, how many people have adopted these features into their every day lives, and use them frequently? For who is Cortana, Siri and/or Google Now an integral part of their experience on their smartphone? Let me know if that's you, and how these features made it into your routine.