Creepy or Not? Personal Assistant App Snips Wants All Your Data


We live in world that has led us to believe increased connectivity will give us more value, but as it stands now it is not the case. Having more connected devices means you will be interrupted throughout the day responding constantly to your email, thermostat, security system, mobile device and more.

That’s unless you turn it all over to a another smart device for management. But is handing all this personal data over to a third party just a  little too — well, creepy? The personal assistant app Snips is uses artificial intelligence to eliminate or dramatically lower manual interactions with your various connected devices. To accomplish this its developers have given it contextual awareness to manage this connectivity on your behalf. But in order to do that, you have to give it access to the devices and data you need to keep track of — and that’s a lot of personal data.

Personal Assistant App Snips Takes Privacy Seriously

This is where users take a long pause when it comes to AI personal assistants. How much access do these solutions need, and taking into account the current security threat landscape in the digital world, even the smallest amount can result in a very costly mistake.

But this is also where Snips differentiates itself compared to other platforms. Snips takes the issue of privacy very seriously, so much so it limits its capabilities compared to the likes of Google Now or Google Home, Microsoft’s Cortana, Facebook’s M and Amazon’s Alexa.

Snips keeps everything on your phone or local to protect your privacy. Its “Intelligent Memory” grows as you give it more information, which is now limited to email, calendars and address books from Google and iOS.

When you first launch the app, Snips needs access to your location, calendars, contacts, motion sensor and Gmail account.

Once you grant personal assistant app Snips this access, it will link everything and create a personal knowledge graph. And according to the company, this graph puts you, your environment and the people you interact with in the same system for a contextualized time line of what you have been doing throughout the day. With this information, the personal assistant app Snips can predict what your intentions are.

Snips can let you know about your next meeting, message attendees and lookup transit options. And when you arrive at your destination, it can recommended restaurants in your area, and book a table. It can also extract and surface email reservations for flights, restaurants and hotels which it puts together for an overall insight about your personal data, including a timeline of places you visited.

The company’s vision to build an AI that takes care of our technology by automating our connected devices, but it readily admits, “Getting there will take some time — so we are moving step by step, beginning with building Snips’ memory, then giving it the ability to understand natural language, and eventually becoming ubiquitous.”

When it is fully functional you will be able to connect or bring in as many devices and technologies to your world and they will work together in the background without endless interruptions. Depending on the task, it will ask for manual confirmation from time to time, but it won’t be the constant barrage of notifications requiring your attention all of the time.
The personal assistant app Snips has a lot of potential, but it is competing in a field that is now seeing huge amount of investment from the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others. We will have to wait and see if its approach resonates with users as it moves forward, and if so are they willing to wait for it to grow.


Personal assistant app Snips is available for free at the AppStore, with the Android version coming soon.