On August 30, at the German consumer electronics and appliances show IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung) in Berlin, it was announced by Google that the Google Assistant is going to be coming to new smart speakers and home appliances. This is Google’s more aggressive move to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana for third party hardware and software integration.
According to Google, a range of new speakers will get the Assistant:
- Zolo Mojo by Anker
- TicHome Mini by Mobvoi
- GA10 by Panasonic
With the Assistant, these devices are going to deliver the capabilities and functionality of Google Home and will be available in the US and Canada, Australia, France, and Germany. For the time being though (on a smaller scale), this is analogous to Google’s Android OS strategy, with the Assistant powering third-party hardware. A similar strategy is being pursued by Cortana and Alexa.
An extension of the Google Assistant that is pretty cool is the connection of smart speakers to a range of home appliances.
Google, who announced South Korean manufacturer LG, in a blog post, as its first major appliances partner:
[W]ith manufacturers like LG, you’ll be able control your appliances, including washers, dryers, vacuums and more from your Assistant on your smart speaker, Android phone or iPhone (any device with the Google Assistant built in!). Need to clean up? It’s as easy as “Ok Google, start vacuuming.” Want to know if your favorite jeans are clean?? “Ok Google, are my clothes clean?” or “is the laundry done?” Getting help around the house will be easier than ever.
The appliances that are participating will be controllable from the Google Assistant and any Assistant-enabled device. There seems to be an indication (although it seems it doesn’t say anything in the material) that the Assistant will be directly integrated into the appliance itself. Basically, you’ll talk to Google Home or your equivalent device, rather than directly to the dishwasher. That could change though.
According to Google post, there are “more than 70 home automation manufacturers” currently compatible with Google Assistant. The company indicated that more brands will be announced over the week at IFA.
Here are other noteworthy things:
- Integration of Google Assistant into third-party hardware, which will quickly expand both in terms of partners and device categories
- The corresponding acceleration of the “smart home”
- Intensifying competition in the virtual assistant space — effectively a land grab — with Google and Amazon as market leaders
- The coming need for manufacturers to integrate with virtual assistants, and probably all the majors