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Google is firing up developers to catapult their AI assistant game

(TECH NEWS) Google recently tried to pump developers up with lofty dreams and goals with hopes of being the favorite AI Assistant.

google home voice

AI assistant wars

In the grim darkness of the AI Assistant Wars (I would totally read that YA fiction series) Amazon has built up a sizable lead. As noted in our December roundup, Amazon’s Alexa was the most fully developed and integrated among the big three of Amazon, Apple and Google. As yet, that hasn’t changed.

But if last week’s Google I/O event was anything to go by, that may stop being the case, and soon.

Google stepping in

In the early days of the Magic Robot Helper race, Amazon had a massive advantage: it sells all the things. It may even be starting to sell its competitors’ things.

They’ve got supply chain-to-retail wired like nobody else.

That got Alexa on the market, in people’s houses, and most importantly in the hands of developers who could actually make Alexa, you know, do useful things, faster than Apple and Google could dream.

The question, and it’s a big question, is whether that’s enough.

At Google I/O, the House of Pichal made a powerful pitch grounded in the many reasons it might not be.

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The pitch

The vital fact is none of these AI assistants have really integrated into a user experience yet. Amazon’s early lead only means a bunch of stuff is being sold that has Alexa functionality built into it. Whether the stuff works or people want it, which is kind of what matters when we’re talking market share, is an open question.

There hasn’t been a marketwide push to adopt the tech.

At I/O, Google made a serious case for resolving that issue. Fundamentally, Amazon is a retail company. Google is a tech company, above all an information retrieval and management company. That, it says, is the core of the AI assistant user experience.

It’s meant to be the ultimate interface, the way to get the Internet to answer your questions by just asking them out loud.

Google is the unquestioned leader in the tech that makes that possible: voice recognition, search algorithms, language parsing and so on. More importantly, Google has a relationship with the developer community that none of its competitors can match, which it showed at the I/O conference by giving 7,000 developers a free Google Home speaker and $700 of cloud computing credits.

Bark and bite

When it comes to AI, Google has quite literally put its money where its mouth is. Will that be enough to outstrip Amazon’s early lead and Apple’s hard core (see what I did there? Apple core? Never mind) of loyalists? We’ll keep you posted.


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Written By

Matt Salter is a writer and former fundraising and communications officer for nonprofit organizations, including Volunteers of America and PICO National Network. He’s excited to put his knowledge of fundraising, marketing, and all things digital to work for your reading enjoyment. When not writing about himself in the third person, Matt enjoys horror movies and tabletop gaming, and can usually be found somewhere in the DFW Metroplex with WiFi and a good all-day breakfast.



  1. Jack Smith

    May 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Amazon is far MORE aggressive than Google or Apple for that matter by NOT allowing any competing Apple or Google hardware to be sold on

    Hate to say it but if Amazon is going to play like this then both Apple and Google should consider removing Amazon from their platforms. Yes, I know they would never do it and we would all hate it.

    BTW, full disclosure my family is a HUGE Amazon customer and love Amazon. But this behavior does bother me.

    We have had the Echo since day 1 and now several Google Homes (GH). The GH and the Echo are really not in the same ball park. The GH is built on top of a smart foundation and the Echo is a computer interface with the intelligence. So the Echo you memorize commands and the Google Home you just talk like you would to a human.

    The GH knows who you are and uses your account and does what you are allowed to do. The Echo has to have account manually changed and then has passcodes to limit which is a complete joke as just overheard.

    But then Amazon owns ecommerce and we get back to not allowing competitors.

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