LAS VEGAS – More than 3,900 companies are available to showcase their latest technologies at CES this week, but there is one giant name that stands out from the package: Google.
This is the first time in several years that the Titan of Mountain View, California, has had a large independent stand on the show and its presence not only reflects the changing dynamics of the show, but also serves as a declaration of war in the battlefield of digital assistants.
CES is changing a program in which you appear with the most striking gadget. Now there is a greater focus on creating partnerships between small and large companies to make each product work within a constellation of others to help people spend the day more efficiently, said Gary Shapiro, executive director of the Consumer Technology Association, which houses CES. The giants of technology want their assistants to be the glue of that operating system of life: the voice that helps you turn on the lights, power the dashboard of your car and control everything from the shower to the bed.
Have an official stand at CES. Especially when its main rival, Amazon, does not, it allows Google to show off potential buyers and signals that it is ready to work with the best brands in the world and interesting new companies, analysts said.
"Google's presence at CES is equally designed to reach not only consumers but also developer ecosystems," said Werner Goertz, an analyst at Forrester Research.
(Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post)
The competition to be the first assistant to enter people's homes is fierce. It is a market that is expected to grow considerably in the coming years, with Gartner analysis firm predicting that a quarter of all requests will be made through voice aids by 2019. Currently, Amazon Echo devices have 67 per hundred percent of the smart speaker market. to 25 percent of Google, according to Strategy Analytics. And both Google and Amazon offered drastic cuts in vacation prices to preempt Apple's HomePod. That speaker, expected later this year, will give Apple's voice assistant Siri its own support at home, although the company's HomeKit software already allows Siri to control light bulbs, smart locks and other products, including some exhibitions in the show.
is to be the only assistant that a person uses every day. "He should have the same assistant helping him in all the contexts of his life," said Scott Huffman, vice president of Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is currently on 400 million devices worldwide, compared to 100 million in July 2017.
Google has some key advantages over Amazon when it comes to AI, analysts say. Your deep knowledge of the search provides you with important prior knowledge of what people want to know and, critically, how they make requests. Google services give you an integrated audience. The most important thing is that, since the Google Assistant is integrated into the Android mobile operating system, it is not as limited as Alexa.
"There are certain open spaces for challengers like Google and maybe even for the other guys," said Goertz. 19659002] But it will be a difficult battle to fight. CES will provide a great showcase for this battle as it unfolds. Last year, Amazon did not have an official presence on the show, but its Alexa assistant appeared on everything from speakers to ceiling fans. This is expected to be the case this year as well. Analysts expect Google Assistant to have a similar display, in products ranging from kitchen appliances to cars, which will extend Google's reach far beyond its own stand.
And Google and Amazon attendees will have other players at CES hot on their heels, like Roku. The video transmission service has announced that it has developed its own voice assistant, which is tailor made to work with your service. Let's say, for example, "Hey Roku, find Meryl Streep movies" on a compatible remote or speaker, and a list will appear on the TV.
Why invest the time and money to face the titans here? "There are companies like Google and Amazon that are creating general-purpose assistants, but we think that these types of assistants will eventually specialize," says Mark Ely, vice president of product management at Roku. "Our focus is entertainment, and we believe we can make a better demonstrable experience for customers."
Not all manufacturers of household devices declare war or even choose sides in war. They will play against Switzerland in the voice fight showing several different systems, so your clients will not feel trapped. Sonos, for example, recently launched a loudspeaker that features Alexa prominently in its advertising. But it was also confirmed that it will bring the Google Assistant to the same loudspeaker this year
LG said its 2018 TVs contain artificial intelligence capabilities (called ThinQ) that allow customers to control TV functions when talking to the remote control. The basic TV control functions will be completed by LG's own software, but when customers ask more extensive questions, switch to the Google Assistant to get answers. People who own Alexa devices will also be able to control certain LG TV commands by calling the Amazon voice assistant.
LG is trying to adopt an "agnostic approach," said Tim Alessi, vice president of marketing at LG. "We want to adopt the opposite approach" from other television manufacturers focused on a single system, Alessi said. "We want to launch the broader network," he said. When asked if that included letting Siri command her televisions, Alessi said: "Nothing is off the table."
Samsung continues to work hard with Bixby, his voice assistant, and is expected to show his AI on the show. So is the Chinese technology firm Baidu.
So, where does that leave Google's search to be the only one? If CES is an indication, the dream of a unified system is very far away. The giants have taken an early lead, but the breadth of their ambition means that they will have to work with other companies, such as Roku and LG, for specialized voice commands to work. As the field falters, consumers will have many choices of what assistant they want and which one best suits their needs.
Like many wars, it's going to be a disaster for a while, analysts said.
"When you look at these assistants, they work well in their own universe but they do not do interstellar travel well," said Frank Gillette of Forrester Research. Until that problem is resolved, he said, "that will drive us all crazy for the next five years."
Washington Post columnist, Geoffrey A. Fowler, contributed to reporting on this article.