Personal Assistant Apps Come Into Their Own

Feb 8, 2010
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Having just downloaded Siri, I have realized the implications of the now several “personal assistant” apps I have been attracted to downloading in the last couple of weeks.

Part of this attraction has been simply to reduce the amount of information flow into digestible chunks, but at the same time allow me to ping my information in an ad hoc fashion, as needed- say for transactions on PayPal or my bank.

These applications are ALL about combining application functionalities of other apps, the hardware of the phone itself, plus often voice recognition or API combinations; where they integrate many different services- like PayPal, your bank, Facebook, Twitter, weather reports, grocery/savings card memberships, among MANY others.

Several of these new assistants promise to take your information out into the world for you in the form of email, social networking posts, and for my recall later on to help my memory using this always-with-me device in the form of my iPhone (although eventually the type of smartphone won’t matter).

Because Siri and the others I have used combine the features of some of my most useful services (and even apps like OpenTable and Yelp), but leaves other services out (right now) I thought it’d be a useful list to create. Also, I am frustrated by the lack of integration (yes, already) between them and a common API layer for these types of apps to plug in to, so that I don’t need to maintain my data in several places to get the spread of services I need to customize for myself.
No longer will the future be found in one service, but rather a service that plugs you into ALL your services.

Some have made their forte’ (like Personal Assistant Premium and it’s accompanying website, PageOnce) to be supporting as many APIs as possible, whereas others combine voice recognition with either memory assistance (for example, Reqall), or in the case of Siri a combination of both, doing neither as well, but in general this combination will be the way of the future in my way of thinking.

In the end, the point of all the apps is to center the information flow around ME (or me at my business, which is another burgeoning app segment), and not the various businesses that have apps, the services that report their existence, the internet/web itself, Google, Apple, Inc. or anyone else. These apps are the ultimate personalization and I imagine as a helper app will grow leaps and bounds very quickly once people grasp their utility. Of course, those who will succeed in this space will garner and keep their users happy, which is why these apps are currently free (the one exception on my list is Personal Assistant Premium), despite their staggering usefulness.

reQall

This is the app that introduced me to this style of helper app. For me, I need help remembering in topical ways more than anything else, and so this is my most useful app.

 Download 

Siri Assistant

Being that it combined some of the functions of Reqall with some of the functions of both Wallet Zero and Personal Assistant Premium, I thought it would be useful.

 Download 

Pageonce Pro – Money & Bills

This contains many different types of accounts for banking (not as many as I’d like being in Canada), PayPal, email, Twitter, etc. gradually adding more all the time. This has the most APIs of all these services from what I can tell.

 Download 

Mint Bills & Money

The free version of the premium app doesn’t support as many APIs.

 Download 

WalletZero – zero clutter, zero worries, convenient savings

Has a great group of different discount, grocery and membership cards all of which are scannable by most laser scanners and is a good example of what this type of app is trying to do.

 Download 

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