Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Google reportedly plans to revamp its store with Assistant as the focus

Google reportedly plans to revamp its store with Assistant as the focus

But its subtext is all about Google versus Amazon. Whatever the distinction might be, based on Google's announcement, now it's backed by the Google Assistant. Alexa's commanding mindshare was enough to bring Google to the Las Vegas event in full force, eager to encourage the world to shout its name. The new product is a slab-shaped device with speaker grilles on the left side and an 8-inch or 10-inch display on the right. Instead of an advertising blitz, its Alexa digital assistant has merely been popping up regularly in "smart" products across the convention - everything from mirrors and toilets to headphones and auto dashboards.

The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Dealerscope.

Looking ahead John Scumniotales, head of products for Alexa's automobile wing, is confident that the technology can be put to far more ambitious use: "It's still really day one for us in terms of what we can do with Alexa in the vehicle".

Both companies see the competition in existential terms.

But it's not just about the devices Google is making. More than 5 billion consumer devices supporting digital assistants will be in use in 2018, with nearly 3 billion more added by 2021, according to IHS Markit. For instance, United Kingdom -based consumer technology news and review site TechRadar named the Vuzix Blade glasses the Best AR on Show at CES 2018.

Ribitch agreed: "Like many others, we have concerns about a device that's always on and always listening". It's up to the consumer to decide if perks like a voice-activated toilet seat are worth the risk.

Recent reports have revealed that this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) might be turning out to be an all-out war between Google and Amazon in terms of their respective voice assistants.

But these smart products can - and sometimes do - support multiple assistants. Even when the device's microphone is off, Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, or Echo Dot will still respond to requests you make through your remote. Even after Google catches up to Amazon - in some respects, it already has - both companies will continue to coexist, as each has strengths the other lacks. For example, you can preheat your oven by saying, "Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the upper oven to 350". JBL wasn't the only company to announce a speaker like this.

Whether people will truly pay more for the ability not to walk over and flip a switch themselves is unclear.

There has also been a host of new smart cameras on show, many of which boast bigger megapixel lenses and better night vision. "Five years from now, we're not quite sure either".

"From the meetings I've had with different vendors, Amazon has done an incredibly successful job of repositioning Alexa as a platform", says Mark Vena, a senior analyst at Moor Insight Strategy from the sidelines of CES.

The search giant is also reportedly planing to allow purchases with Assistant.

Google's outdoor booth was one of the busiest areas of CES 2018. Alexa, Cortana, or some as-yet unknown virtual assistant? But many manufacturers have adopted its HomeKit software in order to ensure they'll work easily with iPhones and Siri.

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