Epson Announces Printing Integration with Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts, Another Advance for Voice Interactivity
Epson announced last week some of its printer products can now be controlled by voice using Google Assistant or by setting up a Siri Shortcut. Amazon debuted integration between Epson printers and Alexa in October 2018 using the Alexa Skill Connections feature. The Google Assistant integration was summarized as:
“Epson printer users can now ask Google [Assistant] to print a variety of items, including useful paper for school such as graph paper and ruled paper, colorful designed paper for stationary or creative projects, scrapbooking embellishments, calendars, and seasonal designs.”
To set up the service, users need to go into their Google Assistant on mobile, search for the Epson Printer Action and link their account. It requires you to have an Epson Connect account.
Control Printer Settings and Actions with Siri
For Siri Shortcuts integration the company has launched the Epson iPrint app. This enables you to ask Siri how much printer ink is available or can automate tasks such as taking a photo and automatically printing it or doing the same for scanning. Users must download the app and select “Add Siri Shortcuts” from the main navigation page. From there, they can select the features they want to enable, record a custom phrase to activate the shortcut in the future, and save it. The new Siri and Google Assistant features are available on printers using the Epson Connect feature on EcoTank, WorkForce, and Expression printer lines that are less than five years old according to the announcement.
First-Party and Third-Party Voice Integrations
The new announcements are both first-party voice assistant integrations because they are direct with Google Assistant and Siri Shortcuts. This is enabling the voice assistant to interact directly with a device. Alexa Skill Connections goes a bit further because it enables third-party voice apps to integrate with Epson printers. Both approaches offer utility for users. The Google Assistant and Apple Siri Shortcut solutions reduce friction around common tasks. They enable Epson printers to instantly become voice enabled as a direct command or a routine with multiple steps.
The Alexa approach enables third-parties to work together to build out more comprehensive user experiences that are more involved than simple print commands. For example, in a ticketing app you could purchase tickets and then ask to print them all from within the same experience but tapping into the capabilities of two different skills. While the Alexa approach today is more ambitious and points to how apps will coordinate to fulfill complex experiences, what we are seeing is the beginning of voice enablement for a wide variety of use cases. You might not print as often as you use to, but making it easier is definitely a good thing.