Google expands Assistant device network, adds polyglot support
Company announces dizzying array of new integrations of the Google Assistant into speakers, displays and smart appliances.
Google Assistant devices have an advantage over Echo in international markets. Seeking to capitalize and expand on that, the company is expanding multilingual support and announcing a raft of new partners.
Among the laundry list of announcements, users will now be able to switch between languages interchangeably. Google calls this “a first-of-its-kind feature only available on the Assistant.” Announced at European tech trade show IFA, the company says the Assistant will be able to understand “any pair of languages within English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.”
Google also announced new third party smart displays and new smart speaker partners. In the latter category are speakers from Bang & Olufsen, Blaupunkt, Harman Kardon, Kygo, Polaroid and others. Google’s own Home Max speaker is also now available in the UK, France and Germany.
Smart display makers include JBL and LG, in addition to the existing Lenovo device already in the market. Google is rumored to be readying the launch of its own smart display later this year. The company sees these display devices as “kitchen companions.” In addition to native support for Google software (Calendar, Maps, Photos), they feature YouTube, which Amazon Echo currently cannot access because of a dispute between the companies.
Google Assistant will also be available on more headphones, from JBL, LG and others. And there are a wide range of new connected home devices and appliances will support the Assistant, including a number of thermostats, home security devices, smart lighting, robot vacuums and an oven from Electrolux.
As these announcements illustrate we’re in a period of tremendous innovation and product development across categories. We’re also in the midst of a land grab between Google and Amazon. And right now, everyone else including Microsoft, Apple and Samsung is on the sidelines.