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Siri, why are you Siri? How invented the names of popular voice assistants

Voice assistant Siri has already become a familiar part of our everyday life. But few of us know the origins of this name. In the publication Sostav found out, where did the name Siri, Alexa & Google Assistant.

When developers come up with a name for the digital assistant, they check a few things. First, the name must be unique but simple, so that users can easily remember. Secondly, it should be easy to pronounce, but not to merge with other words. That is, the name should stand out. And finally, the name should fit the company brand.

Most voice assistants have one thing in common: they have a female voice. Many experts believe that female voices are more pleasant. However, some see this as an unpleasant hint: helper can only be a woman, it’s her usual role. Anyway, all used that digital assistants are usually female.


In 2010 Steve jobs and Apple acquired a startup that develops digital assistant. Even then, the assistant was going to be called “Siri”. However, the name proposed by the developers, Steve jobs did not like.

“When it came to the name, we wanted to come up with something that is easy to remember. Something short and easy to pronounce, but not common name. And we need to save money on registration of the name”, explains one of the creators of Siri, Adam Cheyer. Steve jobs name is not liked. But many considered it perfect.

Dig Kittlaus, one of the founders of Siri, said that the name means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”.Cairo like the fact that in Swahili it means “mystery”. In addition, the name resonated with the history of the company (SRI International began to develop a service). Jobs left the name because the team could not come up with anything better.

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Creating this assistant, Amazon was inspired by science fiction. The purpose, according to the Vice-President of Amazon, was to create a device that follows the computer from the TV series “Star trek”. This famous computer could respond to any command.

However, the name Alexa did not come from a science fiction future, from the distant past. Name, says David Limp, senior Vice President of Amazon, should remind of the great Alexandria library from the Ancient Egypt.

“We picked out a few names,” said Limp, adding that the name helps build a personality for the formless artificial intelligence.

Because Alex is a pretty common name in some countries, there may be some problems. People can accidentally call the voice assistant, and not each other. So Amazon came up with two commands: Echo and Amazon.

Google Assistant

At first glance the name of this assistant seems unoriginal and simple, but it is part of a global strategy of Google. The aim of Google is to promote your own brand, entire package of services and technologies, not just one assistant. The company prefer to imagine the voice assistant not as a separate product with its own personality, and as a continuation of the search engines.

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