Google at the CES 2019: Assistant reigns supreme

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Noor Imtiaz
Currently a MS student in Healthcare Biotech at Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology juggling pure science and creative writing. I’m an avid reader who makes more time for books than Netflix.

Google made many cutting-edge announcements at the CES this year. From releasing innovative gadgets like the Interpreter to software accessories for Google Assistant, their booth had it all. In addition to the own announcements, Google also flaunted their new partnerships at CES. Third-party integrations with Lenovo, McAfee, and Samsung mean Google had one of the more impressive runs at this year’s show.

A recurring theme this year was Google Assistant. It’s pretty obvious that Google is out on a quest to take on Alexa, its AI rival by Amazon. So to pull out all stops for their voice virtual assistant, Google pelted us with a whole lot of everything. It got its own booth at the event. The tech giant set up an interactive theme park-style ride for people who visited their booth (yes, a ride about software). Moreover, they took the liberty of plastering their Assistant’s signature greeting “Hey Google” all over the city of Las Vegas.

The Announcements

From the buildup surrounding Google Assistant before CES started, it was apparent that most of their announcements would center around their virtual assistant, and that proved to be true.

Google announced, to much appreciation, that Google Assistant would be on one billion devices by the end of this month. These one billion devices are expected to be scattered across no less than eighty countries around the world. There will be several types of devices that can connect with Google Assistant, including phones, headphones, smart speakers, and smart displays.

Another cool update is the introduction of Google Assistant on Google Maps in both Android and iOS. Although the functioning will likely be smoother with Android, it is still big news. Google can use this update as a trojan horse to get Google Assistant on iPhones around the world (since, let’s face it, iPhone users are really using Google Maps).

Google is also working on Google Assistant Connect. This initiative would let manufacturers build devices that could easily connect to Assistant through Google Home. With this announcement, Google confirms they are aware of the dire need for third-party collaborations.

Google also announced a flashy new software feature called the Interpreter mode that will connect with Google Assistant. This new software would translate languages in real time (!) and work best with Google Home Hub. Google will pilot this auto-translation feature on hotel desks. (All in all, Google seems poised to help people travel the world with more confidence.)

Third-Party Collaborations

Google is bringing its armada of third-party integrations to help with the expansion of the Google Assistant’s platform. The most significant of these collaborations is that of Google Assistant and Samsung’s 2019 TVs (another set of announcements that people will remember long after CES is over).

In addition, Lenovo is building a smart alarm clock to bring Google Assistant to your nightstand. Assistant will also be compatible with Sonos speakers. Get ready to hear a whole lot of Google.

Another third-party collaboration, this time with Dish Hopper DVRs, will build Google Assistant right into your remote. And several other Android TV devices will build in Assistant including Philips, Sony, Hisense, Haier, Toshiba, Xiaomi, and JVC. Even smart home devices such as the McAfee Secure Home Platform will incorporate Google’s voice assistant.

The fact that Google is all over the Consumers Electronic Show and placing its Assistant front and center is indicative of their confidence that it can overtake Amazon’s Alexa. No doubt the company is betting on Assistant driving its growth in the coming years.

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