Reports from Las Vegas reveal that Google intends to have a larger presence at CES than it has in years prior. The Verge’s writers, who are on the ground near the Las Vegas Convention Center, have spotted promotional materials, signage and ads for “Hey Google.”
These displays indicate more than a simple surge in branding. Prior conventions have featured Alexa. Different platforms adopted the Amazon personal assistant, and the trade show floor was full of products that incorporated elements of Alexa’s artificial intelligence. Insiders expect Google Assistant to face off against Alexa.
In late December, Google released updates to its smart speaker capabilities. These updates included support for third-party applications and devices. Specifically, Google now allows developers to customize hardware for use with Google Assistant by accessing Assistant SDK. Developers who may have shied away from Google Assistant in favor of the more accessible Alexa Skills for Assistant, now have Google options. It is unclear whether or not developers are actively making use of these changes, but it seems Google is banking on marketing these developments throughout CES.
In addition to providing greater accessibility and configuration options for developers, users also have a greater amount of control over personalizing their devices. Text-based queries are now an option, as is GPS location data for improved weather and local reports.
Language capabilities have also increased. Hey Google responds and addresses users in German, Japanese, Canadian French, European French, Japanese and English variants like Australian English, American English and British English.
Experienced CES reporters are hesitant to predict Google’s CES success, as they have seen major marketing flops over the years. Already some social media users have posted videos and images that imply Google is desperate in their desire to win over more users. But if developers find that Google’s new tools are easy to use and exhibit higher quality results, then perhaps all of the advertisements will result in higher adoption rates.