Google is one of the most valuable companies in the world, but its future, like that of all tech giants, is clouded by a looming threat. The search company makes virtually all of its money from ads placed on the World Wide Web. But what happens to the cash machine if web search eventually becomes outmoded?
That worry isn’t far-fetched. More of the world’s computing time keeps shifting to smartphones, where apps have supplanted the web. And internet-connected devices that may dominate the next era in tech — smartwatches, home-assistant devices like Amazon’s Echo, or virtual reality machines like Oculus Rift — are likely to be free of the web, and may even lack screens.
But if Google is worried, it isn’t showing it. The company has long been working on a not-so-secret weapon to avert its potential irrelevance. Google has shoveled vast financial and engineering resources into a collection of data mining and artificial intelligence systems, from speech recognition to machine translation to computer vision.
Now Google is melding these advances into a new product, a technology whose ultimate aim is something like the talking computer on “Star Trek.” It is a high-stakes bet: If this new tech fails, it could signal the beginning of the end of Google’s reign over our lives. But if it succeeds, Google could achieve a centrality in human experience unrivaled by any tech product so far.
The company calls its version of this all-powerful machine the Google Assistant. Today, it resembles other digital helpers you’ve likely used — things like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. It currently lives in Google’s new messaging app, Allo, and will also be featured in a few new gadgets the company plans to unveil next week, including a new smartphone and an Amazon Echo-like talking computer called Google Home.
But Google has much grander aims for the Assistant. People at the company say that Sundar Pichai, who took over as Google’s chief executive last year after Google was split into a conglomerate called Alphabet, has bet the company on the new tech. Mr. Pichai declined an interview request for this column, but at Google’s developer conference in May, he called the development of the Assistant “a seminal moment” for the company.
The Latest on: Google Assistant
via Google News
The Latest on: Google Assistant
- Google Assistant Now Has Over 4,000 Actions, It's Still Behind Alexa on February 19, 2019 at 11:01 am
Google Assistant saw its arsenal of Actions grow two and a half times over the past year to a whopping 4,253 in the United States, but it's still far behind Amazon's competing Alexa ecosystem, sitting ... […]
- Siri Shortcuts and Google Assistant learn to print and scan documents with Epson printers on February 19, 2019 at 10:50 am
Epson is today adding support for voice assistants to its printers including Siri and Google Assistant. For iOS, users will be able to create a Siri Shortcut to quickly print and scan documents. […]
- The Google Pixel 3 XL's camera is as good as everyone says it is — here's the proof on February 19, 2019 at 9:12 am
Google Assistant will be your personal voice assistant, accessed by saying "Hey Google" or squeezing your phone, and you can create automatic "subscriptions" such as weather and stock market alerts to ... […]
- Google Actions vs. Alexa Skills is the next big App Store battle on February 19, 2019 at 6:38 am
And the platforms right now aren’t really helping. David vs. Goliath. Google Assistant Actions and Alexa Skills are like Chrome extensions, or perhaps more appropriately, “voice apps.&rdquo […]
- Would you still use Google Assistant even if it had ads? on February 19, 2019 at 5:34 am
A few days ago, a story popped up about how one Google Assistant user had an advertisement appear after asking the Assistant a question. Above regular Google Search results was a website being promote... […]
- Google Assistant Skills Trail Alexa By 52K on February 19, 2019 at 3:38 am
When it comes to the competition for developer mindshare in voice apps, Amazon is well ahead of Google. Amazon recently announced that the number of available voice skills for Alexa devices is now ove... […]
- Epson Expands Voice-Activated Printing Support for its Consumer Printers with Google Assistant and Siri on February 19, 2019 at 12:12 am
From Daily Essentials to Arts and Crafts, Epson Helps Simplify Tasks for Families On-the-Go LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Epson America, Inc., a leading provider of printing ... […]
- Google Assistant Actions up 2.5x in 2018 to reach 4,253 in the US on February 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm
In addition to competing for smart speaker market share, Google and Amazon are also competing for developer mindshare in the voice app ecosystem. On this front, Amazon has soared ahead — the ... […]
- Apple buys AI voice startup that helps companies build Alexa and Google Assistant apps on February 15, 2019 at 2:16 pm
Apple has acquired a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup called PullString that specializes in helping companies build conversational voice apps, according to a report from Axios. Pull... […]
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