Music, Search, and IoT: How people (really) use voice assistants

Tawfiq Ammari, Jofish Kaye, Janice Y. Tsai, Frank Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Voice has become a widespread and commercially viable interaction mechanism with the introduction of voice assistants (VAs), such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft's Cortana. Despite their prevalence, we do not have a detailed understanding of how these technologies are used in domestic spaces. To understand how people use VAs, we conducted interviews with 19 users, and analyzed the log files of 82 Amazon Alexa devices, totaling 193,665 commands, and 88 Google Home Devices, totaling 65,499 commands. In our analysis, we identified music, search, and IoT usage as the command categories most used by VA users. We explored how VAs are used in the home, investigated the role of VAs as scaffolding for Internet of Things device control, and characterized emergent issues of privacy for VA users. We conclude with implications for the design of VAs and for future research studies of VAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction


  • Alexa
  • Conversational agents
  • Google home
  • Home automation
  • Intelligent assistants
  • IoT
  • Ubicomp
  • Voice assistants


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