Google shares voice assistant across Android partners
- Google Assistant, Google's voice-driven intelligent digital assistant, will no longer be limited to the company's Pixel mobile phones, according to reporting by Bloomberg.
- Devices running the two most recent versions of Android software will now have Google Assistant made available. Google is showcasing its assistant's larger rollout through a closer partnership with LG Electronics.
- Google Assistant is the tech giant's answer to Apple's Siri. By making the tech widely available on more devices, it gives Android manufacturers another marketing point to lure iPhone fans, especially as some critics have argued that Siri has become less impressive than competitors' offerings.
Google launched Assistant five months ago, and product lead Gummi Hafsteinsson told Bloomberg that the tech has been limited to Pixel devices solely for refinement purposes before integrating it into the broader Android ecosystem. Google Assistant has also been a key offering of Google Home, a hardware device that competes directly with Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo.
The news underscores the growing prominence of voice-driven technology, especially on mobile devices, which will inevitably have an outsized impact on marketing as mobile's popularity and mindshare continue to grow. Gartner recently forecast that 30% of web browsing sessions will happen without a screen by 2020, with "'voice-first' interactions" potentially taking over that space.
Following that, many marketers will need to start thinking about stronger audio and voice-driven content strategies now, lest they fall behind in the space, as has been the case with past emerging technologies. Digital assistant technology like Assistant, Alexa and Siri are ultimately collecting a unique and detailed set of data on their users, though companies like Amazon have been cagey about sharing that first-party information with brands and developers to date.
Google shipped 552,000 Pixel phones in Q4 and 500,000 Google Home speakers, according to research cited by Bloomberg, putting Google Assistant behind Siri and Alexa. Expanding the tech across Android software might rapidly shift that ratio, as it should reach around one-third of Android phones.