When Google unveiled its new smart assistant earlier this week, it revealed the most basic name possible: Assistant.
Unlike Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Amazon’s Alexa, “Assistant” isn’t catchy. It has no identity.
You don’t even really call it that — to summon it from Google’s new smart speaker, you’d address it with a simple “Hey, Google” or the same “OK, Google” that you’d use to activate its voice search and predictive service, Google Now.
But Assistant’s lack of personality was quite intentional, according to Jonathan Jarvis, a former creative director on Google’s Labs team. While at the company, he led a team doingconcept, strategy, and design on products like the Search app and even Alphabet’s logo rebrand.
Jarvis worked on Assistant only up until February, so he wasn’t there for the final decision to use “Assistant” as the platform’s name. But he says that Google had spent a long time talking about whether or not it should personify its digital assistant.