Google recently announced its plans for the geographical expansion of Google Home. Among the countries in Google’s roadmap for this summer is France . Given that we have been flying the French flag for vocal technology since 2012, this announcement generated a lot of excitement at Smarty.AI’s HQ in Paris!
Here is a little video demo of Google Home:
International aspirations with an AI first strategy
Although no exact date was given for the release date in the 4 countries, it looks likely that the voice assistant will be arriving in summer time! This could indeed be a clever move by Internet giant. Alexa won the race to the US market and consequently won the lion’s share of the market and grew an established base of developers. Therefore, being the first AI assistant in France, Japan, Australia and Canada could prove very fruitful for Google Home.
US market voice assistant breakdown
The international expansion was announced at Google I/O, where CEO, Sundar Pichai, also detailed the company’s new strategy to progress from a mobile first to an artificial intelligence and machine learning first company. The aim is to enable digital assistants to anticipate user needs and understand sights and sounds in ways that were previously not possible on a huge scale.
New and improved features
Google I/O was also the occasion to reveal a number of new and improved features coming to Google Home were also announced, including:
The device will soon be able to send visual responses to televisions and phones. Google Home will consider the information being sent before choosing the destination device. For example, if you want directions, the best place to receive them is on your phone. However, if you require the latest weather report or information on your agenda, the visuals would be sent to your television.
Google Home visual responses
Google Home will be able to think ahead for you by looking at your agenda and personal data. At the beginning this feature will be used for simple, but important things (reminders, flight changes, traffic…), and then developed further.
Notifications on voice assistants: Awesome or annoying? What do you think?
Free hands free calling
This feature was announced for US and Canada, and will enable a user to call any mobile or landline without requiring any setup! Home’s ability to identify multiple voices means it can figure out non-proper names like “Mum”. Users will have the option to call using a private number or their mobile number. Admittedly, this feature would have generated more buzz if Amazon hadn’t previously announced that Alexa can also do calls. However, Alexa is limited to device to device or device to app. Google is using its infrastructure and know how from Google Voice to make calling a frictionless hands-free process.
Improved entertainment support
In addition to Spotify’s music service, Google Home will soon support other popular music platforms including Deezer and SoundCloud. Plus, in addition to being currently able to stream Netflix, YouTube and Google Photos to televisions, Google Home will now support even more entertainment services, notably HBO Now and Hula.
And not forgetting developers
The Alphabet Inc unit also used its I/O developer conference to announce that, similar to how Amazon has done with the Alexa platform, it has opened the entire Google Assistant API to developers meaning that they can create their own voice commands and responses that can control the local device. The Google Assistant API will spread the Voice First platform to numerous new devices, appliances, automobiles and other products. Manufacturers will also be able to a “Google Assistant Building-in” logo and registry. Conference go-ers were offered a Google Home speaker and $700 worth of credits for its cloud-computing service. Google hopes this will encourage developers to build and test new voice-based apps (known as Actions on Google) for Google Assistant.
The digital assistant race
Although Amazon’s Alexa has a long head start, it seems that Google is catching up. The company is clearly pulling out all the stops to gain market share. However, the race is far from over, and let’s not forget Apple and Microsoft’s AI assistants, as well as the Orange’s recent announcement of Djingo, France’s first home grown assistant! Either way, its imminent arrival in France is great news for our AI scene and could be a critical move for increasing adoption in Europe! Vive l’innovation 😎