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article imageGoogle Assistant shouts down Alexa at CES

By James Walker     Jan 11, 2018 in Technology
Google's attended CES with its biggest showing in years, arriving with an aggressive round of promotional material for Google Assistant. It comes after Amazon's Alexa was widely seen to have "won" last year's CES with more integrations than Google.
Digital assistants have been one of the most prolific technologies at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Hardware manufacturers have launched a wide array of new smart home products, most of which come with either Amazon's Alexa or the Google Assistant.
Technology companies are viewing voice-controlled digital agents as the next major input mechanism for computers. In the smart home of the future, you'll be able to interact with your appliances and devices using only your voice. So far, this vision has been presented primarily through smart speaker hubs designed to be placed in the centre of your home.
Google's attendance at CES shows just how seriously it's taking digital assistance. With Amazon Alexa considered to be the leading assistant for the smart home, Google's been forced to demonstrate that Assistant is growing too.
The company has installed a giant booth outside CES and taken out sponsorship of the Las Vegas Monorail. Several large video billboards around the conference centre are dedicated to advertising the Google Assistant.
ASUS laptop with Alexa assistant
ASUS laptop with Alexa assistant
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Google's not really promoting its range of Assistant-equipped hardware, the Google Home, Home Mini and Max. Instead, the emphasis is on the Assistant itself. The company's sending a clear sign to Amazon that there are still contenders in the digital assistance space.
The potential for Amazon to dominate the next phase of computing is a serious threat to Google, a company built on revenue from online search and advertising. In the future, it's plausible people could use Alexa for searches instead. This could reduce usage of Google's core services.
Going into 2018, advanced digital assistants are still emerging. Smart homes are in an exploratory stage and few consumers are yet to embrace constantly connected home hardware. Usage stats of smartphone voice control apps are also concerningly low. Google's decision to respond to Alexa's dominance of CES 2017 marks a shift in its narrative, suggesting a more aggressive promotion of assistant services could be coming.
Alexa and Google Assistant have both announced new integrations this year, including smart speakers, in-car infotainment systems, TVs and smart appliances. Microsoft's Cortana has made a few appearances too, including new compatibility with more smart home hardware. The digital assistance "war" hasn't been won yet.
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