While Amazon didn’t have a splashy appearance at the show though there was a bizarrely large Echo speaker in one entrance the fact that so many gadget makers were promising to bake Alexa into their products became the dominant story of CES.
This year, Google, which has a rival assistant produce called Google Assistant, is getting sure no one leaves CES without thinking often about it.
Google has bought out major video advertisements on the Strip, playing “Hey Google” ads for Assistant on loop. It has sponsored the Las Vegas Monorail, enveloping the cars in “Hey Google,” as well. And it has built a giant booth outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, full with a very Googly slide.
Companies have published some Google Assistant integrations, too, even as the Alexa combinations roll on.
There are smart locks, kitchen TVs, non-kitchen TVs, in-car television systems, a bunch of speakers and headphones, etc.
Some of them may show to be popular. Many won’t matter, or even ship. That’s CES for you.
The bigger film is the narrative, and that’s why Google is smart to make noise here.
The thought has been that Amazon, an online shopping company, is driving away with the future of voice-based computing and search perhaps the next great operating system. If true, over the long run, this could range from moderately bad to very bad for Google, the world’s biggest search, and online advertising company.
What happens here this week apparently won’t make much of a difference. Integrating voice assistants into every random gizmo might help we’ll see but it’s just character of the puzzle.
To really transform things, Amazon and Google and Apple, with Siri must build actual, lasting value for their assistant services beyond music streaming and kitchen timers, and marketing won’t solve that problem. This seems like an improvement Google would have, as the company whose occupation is to “organize the world’s information” and builder of many great internet services. Yet Amazon has overachieved so far, and still seems the fan favorite.
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