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It’s Google Home vs. Amazon Alexa at CES in the battle for the voice ecosystem
Google and Amazon both announce new device partnerships; the Google Assistant will be on new "smart display" devices, more TVs, speakers and in cars.
Last week Google announced that the Google Assistant was available on 400 million devices. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this evening it announced an array new device partnerships.
Rival Amazon is also making announcements at CES with a range of device makers. Alexa is being integrated into a set of expensive augmented reality glasses ($1,000) from Vuzix. More significantly, it will be added to PCs and laptops from Acer, Asus and HP. This represents a significant potential challenge to Cortana.
It’s safe to say that Amazon has now taken over from Apple as the virtual assistant leader, if not in absolute device numbers then in terms of visibility and momentum. According to a range of third party estimates, Amazon has roughly three-fourths of the smart speaker market to Google’s 25 percent.
Suggesting that it’s gaining on Alexa, last week Google said there was robust demand for Google Home. The company asserted it “sold more than one Google Home every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October.” That means, since approximately October 19, Google has sold nearly 7 million devices. That’s not all of Google Home sales but suggests the totality of devices sold is below 10 million.
Among the list of devices the Google Assistant is being integrated into are “smart displays” (see video below). They will initially come from JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. Google was rumored to be working on its own answer to the Amazon Echo Show, which of course has a screen. It’s not clear if a Google Home branded smart screen device is still in the works or if the company will rely on these and other third parties instead.
The screen creates a range of obvious new user experience possibilities as well as new marketing and commerce capabilities for brands, publishers and marketers. That same potential with the Echo Show has to date been mostly unrealized.
The new smart screen Google Assistant devices will make video calls, access Google Photos and show YouTube videos. Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV have been blocked from showing YouTube for allegedly violating Google’s terms of service and not offering Google products reciprocity on Amazon.com.
The Google Assistant is also coming to more smart TVs. In addition to existing offerings from Sony and NVIDIA, introduced last year, TV makers integrating the Assistant include including TCL, Element, Hisense, Westinghouse and LG.
There will also be new, third-party smart speakers incorporating the Assistant, from Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex and SōLIS. New headphone partners include JBL, LG, Jaybird and Sony.
Finally, Google said the Assistant will roll out to all cars that feature Android Auto, now available from most major car makers on more than 400 models. Google Assistant is also compatible with more than 1,500 smart home devices and accessories.