Look Ma, No Hands: A Survey of Communication Apps on the Major Voice Platforms

In the midst of Facebook’s launch of its voice-activated smart camera and display (Portal from Facebook), we thought it’d be interesting to find out how communication apps were faring on the two major platforms (Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant).

To do this, we analyzed ratings and reviews data on all communication-related apps in the Alexa Skill and Google Actions marketplaces. We found that while voice apps for calls, email and messaging were thriving on the Assistant platform, they were curiously absent or performing poorly on the Alexa platform. These findings and more after the jump.

To start we looked at the total number of communication apps on each platform. While Google lumps Social and Communications actions together, we’ve segmented them out for comparative purposes. Of note, especially in light of Amazon’s release of a “bigger and better” Echo Show, is that Communications is the second smallest category by application count on Alexa, and the smallest on Assistant.

Select Alexa Category Sizes by App Count (as of September 1, 2018)

  • Games: 4,215
  • Music: 3,691
  • Weather: 587
  • Social: 384
  • Communication: 163
  • Shopping: 94

Select Assistant Category Sizes by App Count (as of September 1, 2018)

  • Games: 2,433
  • Music: 1,674
  • Shopping: 247
  • Social: 171
  • Weather: 70
  • Communication: 49

As with games, Google’s own apps make up the lion’s share of their success in the Communications category. Hands-free messaging skills enjoy high ratings and reach on Assistant, while Alexa’s leaderboard, curiously, is comprised of two dictation apps and a family emergency alerting utility, each from obscure brands.

Most Reviewed Alexa Communication Skills as of September 1, 2018

  • Mastermind by Convessa Inc. (980 Reviews, 4.3 Stars)
  • Ask My Buddy by Beach.Dev (611 Reviews, 4.6 Stars)
  • Scryb by Macadamian (23 Reviews, 2.9 Stars)

Of note: both Mastermind and Ask My Buddy were also published on the Assistant platform, while Scryb was not.

Most Reviewed Assistant Communication Skills as of September 1, 2018

  • Calls by Google Inc: (8,184 Reviews, 4.2 Stars)
  • WhatsApp by WhatsApp Inc (5,217 Reviews, 4.5 Stars)
  • Text Messages by Google Inc (4,150 Reviews, 4.3 Stars)

None of the three most popular communication actions on Assistant were also published on the Alexa platform.

[Interested in more insight and analysis of the voice ecosystem? Read our report on the State of Alexa Education Skills for Kids.]

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