Virtual assistants have come a long way in the two decades since Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) introduced Clippit, an animated paper clip that suggested tips and shortcuts to users as they worked in Word, Excel, and other Microsoft Office applications.
The bot, commonly known as “Clippy,” drew endless ireand mockery—even from Microsoft—before the company retired him in the 2000s. Many users felt Clippy didn’t presume competence. For example, beginning a Word document with “Dear” caused Clippy to pop up and offer help with writing a letter.
Clippy was arguably a bust for Microsoft, but newer virtual assistants have proven to be more useful and popular. From voice-controlled gadgets like Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Echo and Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Home to the virtual chatbots some organizations’ websites use to greet visitors, many of these tools are helping people find information and carry out tasks more quickly. And, unlike Clippy, most of these modern helpers can be easily ignored. Read the full story here.