Integration with virtual assistants


@Christopher_Spackman started a good discussion on Twitter about integrations, now that Google Assistant supports British language. We want to do lots of integrations in time - you can help us prioritise which ones to focus on by letting us know which assistants you use everyday and would make using your Starling account better, quicker, easier etc…

How many people have Alexa or Home? Who uses Siri or Google assistant, how often and what for?

Google Home / Google Assistant
Starling and Google Home

I use Google Assistant/Home but not really sure what I would use it for with Starling. There are three other voices in my house and I wouldn’t want them having access to stuff really.


I have an Amazon Echo but I don’t see myself using it with Starling if I was able to, my Echo is essentially a voice activated Spotify/Audiobook player and doesn’t do much else.

If anything, maybe Cortana on Windows 10 would be cool, a Facebook bot could also be a nice idea whilst we’re waiting on a Cleo integration.


I use Siri now and then and would love Starling to utilise the Siri API. I don’t tend to use many google products other than I’d like to be able to ask Siri my balance.


Hi I use Google Assistant and would love if there was a integration that would allow to quickly hear my balance or maybe send money to existing payees.


Thanks for the mention @sarah.guha . I use Google Assistant on a daily basis on my smartphone and Google Home. On Google Home I control my lights, thermostat, play music on Spotify, play Netflix and a host of other functions. It being a Google product the internet searches are top stuff as are the games. Say Ok Google play a game.

I also use Google Assistant on Google Allo, Allo isn’t very popular but very very good at what it does.

Assistants have a long way to go though but if Starling want to offer a service where you can ask your Assistant what your balance is or to transfer money they are probably best looking at something that can work across operating systems. That rules out Siri and whilst Siri isn’t even the best it is in true Apple style walled in. You won’t be able to play music via Spotify on their new expensive speaker. That leaves Google Home and Alexa for the Amazon Echo. Both are available on Android and for me Google Assistant takes the crown only for their machine learning, knowledge in the internet and ability to link various services.

Oh, forget Cortana. It’s nothing outside of Windows 10.

Here’s what I see:

Hey Google. What’s my Starling Balance?
Hey Google. List my most recent Starling transactions/last 10 transactions.
Hey Google. What are my next Starling direct debits (or similar) and when are they due.
Hey Google. Download a Starling mini statement to my phone (A pdf I’d then dropped to Google Keep or Drive)
Hey Google. Block my Starling card.
Hey Google. Transfer X amount from my Starling account to X( here you could pay a bill or a person by name or account details)
Hey Google. Deposit 1 million pounds in to my Starling account :wink:

If we can play music, get the news, perform a search, order a pizza, order a cab then why can’t we check our balance or transactions.


Done rule Siri out like that. I’m the biggest :apple: :frowning:


I think Google asstiant would be good for us android users and Siri for iPhone users.


Specially with HomePod coming


Pretty damn certain I wouldn’t trust Google or Facebook with access to my bank account!


One thing we know about Apple, they are not interested in our data!


We definitely don’t want to make this a platform-specific debate, but Apple haven’t done anything (that I’m aware of) to monetise our data (but their products do cost a small fortune). Google and Facebook however, are predicated on just that - providing useful services for ‘free’ (the true cost being your data and privacy).

So letting Google or Facebook turn my lights on is one thing, but rifling through my banking transactions to see how they can squeeze me for cash, target more advertising, or just have access to my money… nah - that’s a whole different ball game.


Erm - Cortana is the only assistant that’s truly available on every platform - android, iOS, Windows, even on your Raspberry PI if you want it!

There’s also smart speakers coming out soon using Cortana.

MS stumbled with their mobile phone OS - but don’t count them out for other new technologies like assistants and augmented reality. And even with the mobile OS, MS are coming around for another pass at that later this year.



I still think Cortana is the most powerful virtual assistant out there right now. Siri and Google Assistant are very much playing catch up on that front.


As soon as these things get in to a my OS of choice is better than yours I lose interest very quickly. I’m talking about Starling and it working with Google Assistant etc however:

We always see it tapped out, the line about how Google sells your private data and they are evil and so on. It’s usually followed with how another company is better because they don’t collect user information (they all do) or a bit about you being the product. Nobody outside of Google or Apple will see your data unless they have to hand it over or it is hacked (iCloud has a nasty habit of this).

Google does use your data to make money but not by selling it. Google serves up ads based on your browsing history. Say for example I want a new bike. Google will serve up ads from people who want me to buy a bike from them. The person sat in front of AdWords doesn’t know it’s me though. I can’t see the problem.

The same was done with Apple and iAd. Third-party developers were able to directly embed advertisements. Apple music and Apple News. The more you read the more personal your feed. Apple Music knows what you listen to just the same as Spotify and Google.

Apple’s approach is Differential privacy. This means that Apple are doing exactly what Google and Facebook do. Sending more of your data to its servers to be looked at. The only way Apple and others can improve their services and hardware is to see what their customers do with it just as they will with iCloud Analytics. If you don’t want Apple or Google to know anythign about you opt out or don’t use their services.

There is nothing at all to worry about with using Starling with Google Assistant or Google Home, I challenge you to tell me otherwise.

Anyway, back to the point of the post Here’s a video of Starling using…Google Home - Looking forward to giving this a go.


Surely working with Cleo on an integration would be far less effort that writing a new facebook bot…?


It’s going to have a battle on it’s hands to push Amazon and Google out of the way. Assistants in general are years away from being what we want them to be, in my opinion for what it is worth Google Assistant is the best and only on machine learning and the wealth of information it has at its disposal being the search company it is.

Read what you will in to the report by 360i but they hold Google assistant on top. However
the Assistant ecosystem is very fragmented at the moment, I was reading an article the other day that predicts there will be one or two players in the Assistant space. At present Apple is the wearable winner. Next in terms of voice recognition, natural language processing, artificial intelligence and knowledge graph technologies Google takes number 1 spot. If Amazon get the mobile and wearable tech done then it’ll be interesting t osee where we go. The amazon Alexa app is available on Android.

Cortana has it’s work cut out. Do you use it yourself, what are your thoughts on it compared to the others?


That’s an interesting demo. I’m still not convinced security wise we’re quite there yet for accessing bank accounts via assistants. Where will the authentication be done? With the assistant directly or through the assistant to the Starling app? I know that Google have announced that with Google Home they’ll recognise difference users via voice (either it’s there now - or it’s coming soon) but Alexa, as far as I’m aware, doesn’t have this feature yet.

However - the other interesting point in that demo was that it wasn’t, directly, Google Assistant doing the ‘heavy lifting’ on those transactions. It was Google handing over your query to Starling and then the Starling Assistant doing the work.

It may sound like a fairly minor point, but it’s the difference between:

"Hey Google, give John £5"
"Ok I’ve given John £5"
"Hey Google, tell Starling to give John £5"
“Ok I’ll tell Starling to do that”

Which then means that the ‘Hey Google’ could be just as easily be ‘Hey Alexa’, Hey Siri’ or ‘Hey Cortana’ (or Bixby, or Facebook, or Watson…)

And personally, what Assistant do I use? I wouldn’t describe myself as a heavy user of them at all - I don’t have a smart speaker for starters, and my android phone is running an old version of android so doesn’t have Google Assistant on that.

I’ve played with Cortana and Siri - but I wouldn’t say they’ve personally yet become a vital part of my life. I generally use them more for when I’ve just got out of the shower and want to listen to some music so I can yell at them from across the room…


Have you seen this?


Google home can do that already but whether it’s good enough to not worry about picking the right user/account when asking to send money I’m not too sure.