Google steps up the Voice Assistant Wars

Just a day after Google decided to pull its YouTube functionality from the Echo Show, rumors have surfaced indicating that Google is working on a smart screen type device of its own. The market for smart home devices has gotten increasingly more competitive over the last few months, with all the large players vying for the chance to be able to take over your home.

The leaked announcement, as reported here, comes at a critical time for Google, who risks losing even more market share to Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem after their recent product release.
Google needs a new way to implement its Assistant into people’s homes, and this Echo Show competitor could be the one that makes a dent.

What could Google do to differentiate themselves from the Show? Well, the design of the product is going to be critical. If they were to come up with a more modern design to match the minimalistic trend, we could see many Echo users jump ship just for that. What could really set it apart is if Google allows developers to build actions specifically for this device. Currently, Amazon’s guidelines say that any Echo Show capabilities are complimentary to its voice actions, reducing the functionality of its visual aspect.

The screen based device will also act as a central hub for all of Googles other products, including their smart home devices, Chromecast, and mobile assistant. Because Google Actions span across all of these products, it’s easy to see the utility consumers may get from a having a visual central hub. Imagine being out and using Google Lens to take a picture of a restaurant, immediately, contextual information is sent back to your central hub where the rest of your family could see the menu, reviews, and vocally ask to make a reservation.

Implications

2017 has been all about voice based experiences and how those experiences can occur. The next iteration of that will include a voice + visual aspect. Voice based search is widely believed to dominate internet usage in the coming years, however consuming information and entertainment is still better suited for a visual aspect. Google understands that and its why they are pushing so hard for this.

As a brand marketer, if you’re not currently thinking about these new ways that consumers will access information, now is a good time to start. Simply thinking about a desktop or mobile consumer journey will no longer cut it. You need to include voice interaction and visual components into that mix, and develop a form of utility that these devices will provide.

We’re currently moving towards a day when we stop thinking about marketing just to consumers, and instead market to their proxies. Building voice and visual based actions is an important step in this journey and will set your brand up as consumer purchasing behavior changes.

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