What is the difference between a chatbot and a virtual assistant?

While there are a few key differences between a chatbot and a virtual assistant, emerging AI-powered chatbot solutions are blurring the lines. 

One important distinction is that virtual assistants, like Siri and Google Assistant, largely operate from the user’s voice. Though text-based inquiries are perfectly functional, virtual assistants lean heavily on voice recognition—while most chatbots don’t. 

Another key difference is application integration. Modern virtual assistants can open and interact with a wide range of software programs on the user’s behalf. From scheduling appointments to sending emails to playing a podcast, these digital helpers offer nearly unlimited functionality. 

However, this is one key area where AI-powered chatbots are closing the gap on virtual assistants. By offering similar application integrations, state-of-the-art chatbots can mine various applications for key information, data, and more. And just like a virtual assistant, chatbots can modify the information held within those programs on the user’s behalf.