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Hey, Siri, what happened to you?

It was the first major voice assistant in smartphones, but now Siri lags far behind its rivals. How did Google Assistant and Alexa eat Siri's lunch? Here's how.

I remember the introduction of Siri on the iPhone 4S way back when. This was going to be a magic Apple feature that no one could ever catch up to. Instead of having to dig through settings and apps, you could just talk to your iPhone.

Competitors, however, soon popped up. Who could forget S Voice, the forgettable voice assistant from Samsung, which was eventually replaced by the equally forgettable Bixby. Then there was Google Now. This product was a bit more polished, but Google Assistant showed Now that it was the past.

What can I help you with? Siri, we need to talk.

What can I help you with? Siri, we need to talk.

James Martin/CNET

Somehow Amazon entered the voice assistant fray with a tubular speaker known as the Echo. This was an incredibly odd product at its introduction. Why would I want a speaker listening to me anyway? What did Amazon know about voice assistants?

It turns out, Amazon knew a lot. It gave its virtual assistant Alexa a huge array of skills. Then Google's Assistant, introduced as your own personal Google, started showing its smarts.

Siri did receive minor upgrades during all this, but it's far from the top of the class. That being said, Apple can still turn things around. Siri has been recently getting some improvements, since around the time Apple picked up an ex-Googler, John Giannandrea, to be its VP of machine learning and AI strategy back in 2018. Watch my video above for lots more.