Google Assistant aims for dominance at CES

Google Home
Google is taking its battle with Amazon to new heights at CES with dozens of product integrations and new features. (John Tekeridis/Pexels)

Google announced new features, dozens of product integrations and an expansive plan to create a wider platform for its virtual assistant at CES. Google Assistant, which was first released in May 2016, has evolved into a standout product and Google’s best chance of competing with Amazon’s domination of the space with its Alexa assistant.

The company is embarking on a bold plan to bring Google Assistant to millions of iPhones. Google Assistant will arrive on Google Maps for Android and iOS starting this week, expanding the reach and availability of the voice-enabled assistant by significant magnitude. The integration will allow Google Maps users to share their estimated arrival time with friends and automatically get directions home with their voice. Perhaps more importantly, though, it will introduce millions of Google Maps users on iPhone to the offering.

Google also introduced a preview of Google Assistant Connect, which enables third-party device makers to more easily integrate the virtual assistant into their products. The company says Google Assistant now works with more than 1,600 home automation brands and more than 10,000 devices. At CES it announced support for more smart home devices later this year, included appliances, security systems and other connected devices.

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Google Assistant is coming to a range of new devices, including Instant Pot’s Smart WiFi Programmable Pressure Cooker, Sub Zero’s refrigerator and wine store, Wolf E-Series and M-Series ovens, Cove dishwashers and the U by Moen shower. Google also announced support for McAfee’s Secure Home Platform, Rheem’s Econet Smart Thermostat, the Côr 7C thermostat by Carrier, eMotorWerk’s JuiceBox Level 2 and SolarEdge’s EV Charging Solar Inverter.

Irrigation products and water leak sensors are also on the horizon for Google Assistant, including LeakSmart Leak and Flood Protection, Flo by Moen, Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, Rain Bird Smart WiFi Controllers and Orbit’s B-Hyve. Philips Hue smart light bulbs will also gain a new feature called “gentle wake up” that simulates the sunrise 30 minutes before a morning alarm. Lenovo, Sonos, KitchenAid and Dish also announced new products or integrations with Google Assistant at CES.

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Google Assistant is also making headway in the automobile arena with forthcoming accessories that plug into a vehicle’s socket and connect smartphones to car stereos via Bluetooth or auxiliary inputs. The Anker Roav Bolt, JBL Link Drive and the HumX by Verizon were all announced this week at CES, demonstrating Google Assistant capabilities. Google also announced new features that will enable users to gain more access to Google Assistant in the lock screen and automatically translate conversations on Google Home devices and smart displays.

Google says the Google Assistant is now built into more than 1 billion devices, including Android phones. Active users have quadrupled in size during the last year, according to the company.